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Menstruation, pregnancy and menopause spell trouble for teeth

With all the changes taking place in a woman's body during stages like puberty, pregnancy, lactation, menstruation, and menopause, women can expect some oral health changes as well. Elevated levels in sex hormones can also jump start oral health problems. Early on, menstruation may cause swollen gums, herpes-type lesions and ulcers. Later in life, women going through menopause may experience oral problems like pain, burning sensation, bad taste, and dry mouth, as well as bone loss due to osteoporosis, a condition characterized by a decrease in bone mass with decreased density and enlargement of bone spaces. Pregnant women frequently experience increased oral sensitivity and often suffer inflammation of the gums, or gingivitis, due to hormonal changes. Along with a strict oral hygiene routine, the patient should begin a personal and professional plaque control regimen to treat or prevent gingivitis. Periodontal therapy, if necessary, should begin after the woman gives birth. When the dentist asks a woman whether she has recently given birth, might possibly be pregnant, is breast feeding, or is going through menopause, the dentist isn't just nosy. This information is crucial to a dentist planning to administer medication because if a woman is pregnant or lactating, the medication could affect the fetus or newborn child.

Read more: Menstruation, pregnancy and menopause spell trouble for teeth

Women's mouths have a lot to say

With more than half of all women who reach age 50 in 2000 living to at least 80, lifelong oral health care is more important than ever. According to a recent study, aging has been described as a women's issue, especially since women seek medical and dental care services, including esthetic dentistry, more frequently than men. There is strong evidence linking oral health and general health. During menopause, some women can experience dry mouth, burning sensation and changes in taste. Gums can even become sore and sensitive. Hormonal replacement therapy may cause gums to bleed, swell and become red. Osteoporosis can lead to tooth loss or erosion of the jawbone. Since teeth prevent the jawbone from eroding, once a woman begins losing teeth, the jawbone can lose its shape, which leads to difficulties with implants and dentures. Ill-fitting dentures can lead to mouth sores and a loss of oral function, such as the ability to speak and eat. Arthritis limits the mobility of the hands and face joints which affects the quality of brushing and extended care of the teeth.

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