Women’s Oral Health
ALTHOUGH MEN AND WOMEN have a lot in common; there are quite a few differences when it comes to oral health. Women have some advantages men lack, but also some disadvantages men don’t have to worry about. Let’s take a look at the main ones.
TMJ, Sleep Apnea And Sjögren’s Syndrome
Women account for 90 percent of people suffering from TMJ (temporomandibular joint) syndrome, or chronic pain or soreness in the joint that connects the jaw to the skull. The most obvious cause is bruxism (teeth grinding), but it can also be the result of stress, joint structure, vitamin deficiency, medical conditions like arthritis, and even hormones.
Contrary to popular belief, sleep apnea patients come in all shapes, sizes, races, genders, and can even have symptoms atypical of those common for sleep apnea. For instance, not all sleep apnea sufferers snore, many are not obese or even overweight, and not all of them are male. Women, especially those postmenopausal, are suffering from the sleep disorder that causes a person to stop breathing. Dr. Yates can treat this serious condition with oral appliance therapy (like a mouth guard), which allows the jaw to move forward keeping the airway open during sleep.
A condition women are far more prone to than men is Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks salivary glands and tear ducts (resulting in dry mouth and dry eye) before moving on to other tissues and organs. Dry mouth, aside from making chewing and swallowing difficult, is very dangerous to oral health, because saliva washes away food particles, fights bacteria, and neutralizes the mouth’s pH.
With both syndromes, regular dental visits to Gardens Dental Care, Palm Beach Garden’s top practice, are crucial so that you can get a proper diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that will keep your mouth healthy.
Puberty, Pregnancy, And Menopause
Hormones play a large role in women’s dental health, particularly when they are going through significant changes, such as during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Gingivitis and inflamed gums are common during puberty and pregnancy, which is why it’s especially important to maintain good oral hygiene with daily brushing and flossing under these conditions. Here’s a short video on the importance of oral health before, during and after pregnancy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwQY1RT8r10.
Dry mouth is a common problem for women going through menopause, and bone loss is another. When bone loss occurs in the jaw, it can compromise the gums and the roots of the teeth. It’s very important for menopausal women to discuss these potential effects with their dentists, ideally before any negative symptoms appear. And Dr. David W. Yates can help patients with missing teeth or dentures restore their smile in two short visits with dental mini implants. This will not only improve a woman’s health but also ensure a more youthful and overall pleasing appearance.
Eating Disorders And Teeth
More than twice as many teenage girls suffer from eating disorders than teenage boys, and that ratio persists in different age groups. Eating disorders are life-threatening. They have negative effects on every system in the body, and the mouth is no exception.
Malnutrition, particularly a deficiency in vitamins and minerals essential to keeping teeth and gums healthy, can lead to a variety of oral health problems, but eating disorders can do more direct harm as well. Bulimia in particular can lead to tooth erosion from frequent exposure to stomach acid during purges.
Anyone suffering from an eating disorder should seek psychiatric help to recover mentally, but it will take rigorous dental hygiene and help from dental professionals to maintain or restore good oral health.
You And Gardens Dental Care Make A Great Team!
By this point, you might think women got the short end of the stick all around when it comes to oral health, but one major advantage women have is their tendency to take better care of their teeth. Women are more likely to brush twice a day, floss daily, and keep up with their regular dental appointments than men. They’re also much less likely to try toughing it out whenever they experience tooth pain or other symptoms. These healthy habits combine to greatly reduce the impact of all the above conditions, so keep up the good work!
Let’s keep those mouths healthy, ladies!