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Women are different from men. That fact affects our health throughout our lives. We generally take better care of ourselves and our mouths, more than men do. But men still have the advantage when it comes to oral health. Women tend to have higher rates than men of myofascial pain, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), Sjogren’s syndrome (which causes dry mouth), and eating disorders.
Blame hormones. Starting at puberty, hormones can increase the blood supply to gum tissue, causing greater sensitivity to such irritations as food particles and plaque. They can weaken your body’s response to the poisons resulting from plaque buildup, increasing your risk of periodontal disease. Monthly changes during menstruation can include bleeding gums, canker sores, and swollen salivary glands.
Understanding how your hormones affect your oral health gives you a head start in preventing dental problems.
Try These Tips—
• Brush your teeth at least twice daily, using a fluoride-containing toothpaste.
• Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse to help prevent gum disease.
• Floss your teeth daily to remove food debris from between the teeth, and brush or scrape your tongue daily.
• Eat nutritious meals.
• Shun sugary snacks and beverages.
• If you have dry mouth, ask us about treatments such as artificial saliva.
• Keep your regular dental check-up and cleaning appointments. If you’re pregnant–and therefore awash in hormones–we might recommend additional cleanings to ward off “pregnancy gingivitis.”
• Be sure to inform us of all medications you’re taking, and any life changes. If you take any hormonal medications, ask your doctor if what you are taking could have side effects.
Yes, women are different from men. Understand this and celebrate – vive la difference!