Kicking off National Women’s Health Week on Mother’s Day
By Dr. Linda Vidone, Dental Director of DentaQuest
This Mother’s Day appropriately marks the beginning of National Women's Health Week, an observance led by the Office on Women's Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services, to encourage and empower women to make their health and wellness a priority.
Many don’t realize that women have a higher risk of oral health issues, such as gingivitis and dry mouth, than men, particularly during periods of spiked hormone levels like menstruation, menopause, and pregnancy. Here’s how each of these stages can affect a woman’s oral health:
1. Menstruation: Gums can appear red and swollen during menstruation, but this will typically cease after the cycle ends. If the swelling and redness continues, it may be a sign of more deeply-rooted oral health issues like gum disease so schedule a dental checkup ASAP.
2. Pregnancy: “Pregnancy Gingivitis” can cause swelling and tenderness of the gums and is not uncommon among expecting mothers. It’s incredibly important for pregnant women to continue receiving dental checkups and take extra caution with their oral hygiene, as bacteria that causes gingivitis can be passed along to the baby and create issues during pregnancy.
3. Menopause: Women going through menopause should take a look at any medications they are prescribed as a common side effect is dry mouth. Of course, dry mouth can occur at any age due to diabetes, dehydration, and stress, among other medical conditions. If you have continuous dry mouth, see your dentist- it’s important that saliva production is constant so that bacteria doesn’t build up in the mouth.
National Women’s Health Week is a wonderful opportunity to remind women that their health and wellness should be a high priority and that there are many measures they can take to prevent oral health issues. Women (and men and children) should always be sure to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and visit the dentist for a biannual checkup.
So this Mother’s Day, why don’t you really make your mom smile by giving her a new toothbrush?