Womanhood is divided into 3 main phases – Puberty, Pregnancy, Menopausal. Each phase shows its own signs and symptoms in body and oral cavity as well. As it is very well said that, like, EYES are the window to your SOUL, similarly, MOUTH is the window to BODY. Reason behind Woman facing a series of symptoms during a typical phase lies in the series of alteration in various Hormones within them. Thus, it is necessary to understand various oral symptoms and their prevention for better health and care of women. Discussed below are Phases and Conditions in women’s life, where hormones play their role and their associated oral symptoms –
1. PUBERTY: At puberty, girls experience an increase in the production of their sex hormones. (Oestrogen & Progesterone) These sex hormones cause a female’s body to mature and certain body changes. In addition to the visible body changes, these hormones make gums more susceptible to infections (Gingivitis) and may become very swollen and they bleed a lot.
2. MENSTRUATION: Women in their reproductive years would experience menses on a regular cycle. Oral changes that may accompany the menses include, swollen and bleeding gums. Some women do not notice any gingival changes, while others may notice them in the days preceding the onset of menstrual flow. Other oral changes include, Activation of Recurrent Herpes infection, Aphthous ulcers, Prolonged haemorrhage following surgery, Swollen salivary glands (particularly Parotid glands). Women who are prone to Canker sores and Cold sores may develop a pattern where these sores recur during every menstrual cycle.
3. PREGNANCY GINGIVITIS: It is the most common oral condition associated with pregnancy. It occurs in close to 60 to 75 percent of pregnant women. As during pregnancy, the shuffle in hormonal levels, change the gum tissue’s response to bacteria. In addition to Gingivitis, sometimes, the gum tissues between two teeth (interdental papillae) gets enlarges and changes its colour from normal pink to bluish red. This is commonly known as ‘Pregnancy Tumour’. Generally, it decreases in size by itself soon after the delivery of baby, but sometimes it may persist and needs to be removed by dentist.
4. MENOPAUSE: Menopause is a normal event in every women’s life, marking the end of the fertile phase. The most common oral manifestations during menopause are - Pain & Burning sensation in oral tissue, Alteration in taste & Dry mouth.
5. POST MENOPAUSE: After menopause, there is an increased risk of Osteoporosis (a condition where there is loss of bone mass and strength), which may increase the chances of tooth loss.
6.ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES: Because the birth control pills mimic the effects of pregnancy, women may experience the gum tissues changes same as pregnancy. In addition to that, women on birth control pills develops tendency to show healing problems after tooth extractions or surgeries.
OTHER USEFUL TIPS:
- Pregnant women need Routine Dental Check-ups the most. Always tell your dentist/dental staff that you are pregnant
- Always tell your dentist about the medications you are taking. Sometimes, women feel uncomfortable telling a dentist about oral contraceptives. However, it is important for your dentist to know this information, especially when prescribing antibiotics. (it is possible to have an interaction between birth control pills and antibiotics that may cause birth control pills to be less effective)
- Eat a well-balanced diet. Doing so in all phases of women’s life is important. However, certain vitamins & nutrients may be especially beneficial for oral health. Vitamins B & C, Proteins, Calcium helps to maintain the support system around your teeth.
- As soon as the girl reaches her pubertal age, ensure that, she visits her dentist at least once per year.