A woman experiences hormonal changes during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause, which can cause swelling and changes to the gums and increase the risk of tooth and gum diseases.
Dr. Theodora Kent, dentist at Smilefocus, shares how to be vigilant with your oral hygiene at different stages:
Don’t brush your teeth right after a bout of morning sickness. This removes the natural alkaline, potentially increasing damage to the enamel. Use a fluoride mouth rinse instead to neutralise the acid.
If morning sickness makes it difficult to clean your teeth, use a child-sized toothbrush and avoid frothy toothpastes.
Tender gums are more likely to harbour bacteria, causing plaque to form. This damages the gums and brings on gingivitis, which can lead to periodontitis, an infection of the structures around teeth. If left untreated, it can damage the bone that supports teeth.
Studies suggest periodontal infection increases the likelihood of premature births or infants with low birth weights, upping the risk of health problems later on.
Declining hormones can cause a bad taste, burning or dry sensations in the mouth as well as sore, sensitive gums.
Brush, scale, clean and floss teeth regularly to avoid decay.
Osteoporosis is common at this stage, so ensure a sufficient intake of calcium, vitamin D and magnesium to maintain a healthy jawbone for well-supported teeth.
Birth control pills and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can also affect oral hygiene, so do pay close attention to your oral health daily and visit your dentist for regular check-ups.