Although men and women have a lot in common, there are quite a few differences to know when it comes to women’s oral health. Women have some advantages men lack, but also some disadvantages men don’t have to worry about. Let’s take a look at the main ones.
TMJ And Sjögren’s Syndrome
Women account for 90 percent of people suffering from TMJ (temporomandibular joint) syndrome. TMJ is chronic pain or soreness in the joint that connects the jaw to the skull. The most obvious cause is bruxism (teeth grinding), but it can also be the result of the following.
- Joint structure
- Vitamin deficiency
- Medical conditions like arthritis
Another condition women are far more prone to than men is Sjögren’s syndrome. This is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks salivary glands and tear ducts before moving on to other tissues and organs. Dry mouth and dry eye occur as a result and are a symptom of Sjogren’s. A dry mouth, aside from making chewing and swallowing difficult, is very dangerous to oral health, because saliva washes away food particles, fights bacteria, and neutralizes the mouth’s pH.
With both syndromes, regular dental visits are crucial so that you can get a proper diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that will keep your mouth healthy.
Puberty, Pregnancy, And Menopause
Hormones play a large role in women’s dental health. Changes such as puberty, pregnancy, or menopause play an especially large role. Gingivitis and inflamed gums are common during puberty and pregnancy. This is why it’s especially important to maintain good oral hygiene with daily brushing and flossing under these conditions.
Dry mouth is a common problem for women going through menopause, and bone loss is another. When bone loss occurs in the jaw, it can compromise the gums and the roots of the teeth. It’s very important for menopausal women to discuss these potential effects with their dentists. They should do this before any negative symptoms appear!
Eating Disorders And Women’s Oral Health
More than twice as many teenage girls suffer from eating disorders than teenage boys, and that ratio persists in different age groups. Eating disorders are life-threatening. They have negative effects on every system in the body, and the mouth is no exception.
Malnutrition, particularly a deficiency in vitamins and minerals essential to keeping teeth and gums healthy, can lead to a variety of oral health problems, but eating disorders can do more direct harm as well. Bulimia in particular can lead to tooth erosion from frequent exposure to stomach acid during purges.
Anyone suffering from an eating disorder should seek psychiatric help to recover mentally, but it will take rigorous dental hygiene and help from dental professionals to maintain or restore good oral health.
You And Your Dentist Make A Great Team!
By this point, you might think women got the short end of the stick all around when it comes to oral health, but one major advantage of women has been their tendency to take better care of their teeth. Women are more likely to brush twice a day, floss daily, and keep up with their regular dental appointments than men. They’re also much less likely to try toughing it out whenever they experience tooth pain or other symptoms. These healthy habits combine to greatly reduce the impact of all the above conditions, so keep up the good work!