Pittwater Life February 2017 Issue

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Women’s Health Special

Health & Wellbeing

Health & Wellbeing

Hormones and oral health

Women’s hormone surges

can make you more vulnerable

to gum disease, says

Dr Astrid Kylstra of Avalon

Beach Family Dental.

“This is because more female

hormones (estrogen and progesterone)

cause more blood

to flow to your gums, which

causes them to become more

sensitive and “overreact” to anything

that may irritate them.

“The most common irritant

is the presence of plaque

which can cause your gums to

become inflamed, swell and

bleed.”

There are five main stages

within a women’s life where

hormones may fluctuate.

Puberty

Not only can the gums become

red and “bleedy” but an

additional irritant can also be

the presence of braces on the

teeth.

“Diligent brushing at least

two times a day with a soft

toothbrush and fluoride

toothpaste is vital to keep the

gums as healthy as possible

and reduce discomfort,” Dr

Kylstra said.

It is also important to keep

in mind that the gums will

probably bleed every time you

brush you teeth and not to be

worried or scared off by this.

Your period

Your gums may be more

sensitive before and during

your period. If so, it is best

to schedule your clean at the

dentist for the week after it

ends.

Birth control pills

“The advantage of being on

the pill is that it stops wild

hormone fluctuations so can

lessen gum bleeding,” Dr

Kylstra said.

“However, if you are getting

a tooth pulled out, you may be

more vulnerable to a subsequent

infection known as ‘dry

socket’.”

It is important to let your

dentist know beforehand.

Pregnancy

“Some women develop pregnancy

gingivitis – a mild form

of gum disease that causes

gums to be red, tender and

sore,” Dr Kylstra said.

Again, you can help keep it

under control through good

daily habits.

Your dentist may recommend

more frequent cleanings

during your second trimester

and early third trimester to

help control gingivitis.

Menopause

Menopause heralds a huge

change in a woman’s life

and also a woman’s mouth,

including altered taste, burning

sensations and increased

sensitivity.

“This can be related to a

drop in saliva flow which can

be hormone related among

other reasons.

“Saliva is vitally important

for washing the teeth and

keeping plaque levels down.

“It is important to keep

hydration levels up and you

may need to switch to a higher

fluoride containing toothpaste

which can be prescribed by

your dentist,” Dr Kylstra said.

44

FEBRUARY 2017

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