Did you know that May is Women’s Health Month? Your dentist in Chapel Hill thought this would be the best time to talk about the specific needs and issues women can face regarding oral health and hygiene. There’s a lot to uncover and understand, and we hope you’ll join us to learn a little more about your oral health.
Understanding How Hormones Work
Hormones like estrogen and progesterone play a role in both oral and overall health. They become more active during our teenage years, leading to periodontal or gum tissue issues in adolescent girls. Parents should be on the lookout for any inflammation, redness, swelling, or bleeding as your teen ages. Also, if you rely on oral contraceptives or pills for birth control, you’ll want to let us know that you take this medication. Maintaining your oral health while using these pills is very important. Hormone levels in women on the birth control pill, especially brands containing progesterone, can increase the risk of developing gum disease due to increased blood flow. Sometimes, prescription antibiotics will be necessary to help treat your gum disease.
Pregnancy and Healthy Gums
There are so many things an expecting mother has to do to prepare for their little one’s arrival. It’s important to know that your baby can be affected by your oral health during development. You might see changes in your mouth, especially in your gums, due to an abundance of estrogen and progesterone, similar to the onset of puberty. Due to this hormonal increase, “pregnancy gingivitis” can occur with painful inflammation in your gum and surrounding tissue. Unfortunately, gum disease has been linked to preterm or low birth weight in newborn babies. If you’re planning a family or recently found out you’re expecting a child, please schedule an appointment with your Chapel Hill dentist to ensure you’re healthy and ready.
Gum Infections and Cancer
A recent study found that older women experiencing periodontal or gum tissue infections are more likely to develop some common cancers than their peers without any oral health issues. When plaque builds up on your teeth, it can lead to an early form of gum disease called gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can worsen into another condition called periodontitis. Over time, plaque can spread and grow beneath your gum line and allow bacteria to irritate your gums. This can stimulate a chronic inflammatory response elsewhere in your body that can cause your body to break down its own bone and tissue that help support your teeth. The study also found that women with periodontal issues were 14 percent more likely to develop cancers in the esophagus, lungs, and gallbladder than women with healthy teeth.
No matter what month it is or what stage of life you may be in, women of all ages should keep up with their regular visits to see their dentist in Chapel Hill. This is when we can monitor your oral health and look for any changes or issues, especially with your gums. Call us today to schedule an appointment or hygiene cleaning. We can help answer any questions you might have about your gum health and taking care of your smile. Take the time to care for yourself and your oral health, and enjoy all of the benefits that come with it.