When we think about our health, one of the last things that comes to mind is visiting the dentist. A vast majority of us only visit the dentist when we are experiencing the pain and agony of a toothache. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that the bacteria in the mouth can contribute to a variety of different health conditions, some of which can be very serious. Women, in particular, need to be diligent in having proper oral hygiene and getting adequate dental care, as they have many factors that can contribute to tooth decay and other dental health issues.
The Effects of Life Stages on Teeth
Throughout life, women have hormonal fluctuations that can affect their dental health. From puberty through to menopause, these hormonal changes can wreak havoc on your teeth in many different ways.
Puberty – The onset of hormones during puberty can cause the small blood vessels in the gums to dilate, which in turn can cause bleeding and swelling of the gums. In some women, the healthy bacteria in the mouth can turn into a more infectious type because of these hormonal changes.
Pregnancy – The tendency for bleeding and swollen gums experienced during puberty can return with a vengeance when a woman becomes pregnant. Periodontal disease is also common during pregnancy, due to the hormonal fluctuations of the body.
Birth Control – The oestrogen in birth control pills and other hormonal birth control choices can mimic pregnancy. Women who use these forms of birth control can have similar oral side effects as those who are actually pregnant.
Menopause – The menopause can cause a dry mouth and sensations of burning in the mouth, due to the loss of hormones.
Post Menopausal – Many women experience bone loss after having gone through menopause and the teeth may be affected by this condition, too.
Dangerous Side Effects of Poor Dental Care
Having dental problems can cause bigger issues than just sore gums and a toothache. The bacteria and infections that occur in the mouth can be spread through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. This can cause or aggravate various medical conditions including heart disease, diabetes, oral cancer, and other serious health concerns.
The side effects can be even more devastating for pregnant women. Poor dental hygiene and untreated dental problems can lead to serious infections that can complicate pregnancy. There have even been links between poor dental health and premature and low birth weight babies. Getting proper dental care and maintaining good oral hygiene throughout your pregnancy can be vital to both your health and the health of your unborn baby.
How to Take Care of Your Teeth
In order to prevent painful and costly dental visits, as well as to protect your overall health, you should take the following steps to take care of your teeth.
Brush Your Teeth Properly - Brush your teeth at least twice a day, using proper brushing techniques. The toothbrush should be held at a 45-degree angle against the gum line and brushed gently, with a circular movement. Be sure to brush the backs of your teeth, as well as the tops of your molars. Brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper to remove excess bacteria from your mouth. Replace your toothbrush every three months.
Floss Daily - Whenever you brush your teeth, remember to floss, too. Use a clean section of floss between each tooth, to prevent redistributing the bacteria removed. Always slide the floss slowly between the teeth to avoid damaging the gum tissue. Never forget to floss behind your back teeth, as this area is commonly overlooked.
Maintain a Healthy Diet - Try to avoid sugary foods that can lead to tooth decay. Eat healthy snacks, such as fruits and vegetables, popcorn, or cheese and crackers, rather than cakes, sweets, and ice cream. Drink water or milk, rather than carbonated, sugary soft drinks. If you do choose one of these items, brush your teeth afterwards or chew sugarfree gum to help combat the effects of the sugar.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly - Of course, if you have any dental problem, such as a toothache or problems with bleeding gums, make an appointment to see the dentist as soon as possible. You should also schedule regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist at least twice a year. They can let you know if you need to take further steps to maintain your oral health and even catch small problems before they become painful and costly. Your dentist can help you in your fight to keep your oral health from affecting your overall physical health.
From Female Forum