This will probably not come as a surprise to anyone, but the more we learn, the more we understand that women and men really are different in many respects. Like the book says, men really are from Mars and women from Venus.

And the differences between the sexes manifest themselves in your oral health. They are particularly prevalent depending upon the age of the woman.

The hormones released into a young girl’s body when she reaches puberty often result in the first difference.  As a result of these hormones, young girls may find that their gums are more prone to bleeding.

This may be a normal reaction and may be nothing to worry about. However, you also need to be aware that swollen gums are easier for bacteria to penetrate and then access the blood stream.

This can be a potentially dangerous situation as oral bacteria has been linked to numerous health issues, including heart disease. If you notice your daughter experiencing higher levels of bleeding in the gums as puberty arrives, make sure you mention that to us when you are into our office for your next (or first) appointment.

Another factor that is of particular concern to us at Rideau Dental Centre is the impact of body image. We all know that young girls feel tremendous pressure to “look good”, and that often means conforming to a specific body image. Many young girls resort to unhealthy dieting practices to achieve this body image, despite the fact they are at a perfectly healthy weight.

Poor diets deny the body of essential nutrients and this can affect the mouth as well as the rest of the body. Even the simple reduction in food intake can reduce the amount of saliva a body produces, and saliva can play a vital role in controlling the levels of oral bacteria.

The situation becomes more severe if eating disorders become a problem. Women with bulimia obviously have a great deal of acid flow through their mouths. This acid can literally eat away at the teeth. Even if the eating disorder is brought under control, the damage done to the teeth can persist and require expensive treatment.

Unfortunately, the news may not be better on the other end as women reach menopause. Menopausal women are more likely to suffer from dry mouth, which can lead to more cavities. At the same time, jaw bones become susceptible to a loss of bone density as osteoporosis sets in.

In other words, ladies, it might seem like even your oral health does not give you a break no matter what your age! The best thing you can do is eat healthy and maintain good oral health practices. That means brush and floss regularly and visit us at Rideau Dental Centre at least twice per year. We can help you monitor any changes to your oral health at all of life’s changing stages.

Because monitoring your changing oral health is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. George Parry

Dental Surgeon