Dental Health Week is back. One of the main reasons people need an emergency dentist is because they don’t always take care of their oral health. Dental Health Week is a great chance for people to be reminded, once a year, of the importance of taking care of their teeth and gums.
Dental Health Week is celebrated the first full week of August every year. It is produced by the Australian Dental Association (ADA). Every year has a different focus or theme. This year’s theme is Women and Oral Health with a focus on how hormonal changes affect oral health. Dental Health Week will be celebrated on 1-7 August 2016.
If you are female, hormonal changes caused by stages of life such as puberty, pregnancy, menstruation and menopause not only affect the rest of your body but also affect your teeth, gums and mouth. Here are how various stages of life can affect female dental health.
Puberty is a bad enough time for teenagers just from school and the social aspects of children learning who they are as they begin to transition into adulthood. With puberty comes the sex hormones: estrogen and progesterone. These hormones increase the flow of blood to the gums, making them more sensitive to plaque and to food particles.This can cause a condition that is called “puberty gingivitis,” where the gums become red and swollen with a tendency to bleed more easily and more often than usual. It is important to brush twice a day and floss once a day to avoid puberty gingivitis. It is also important to get regular cleanings from a dentist.
Some people need two cleanings a year to ensure that they don’t get puberty gingivitis. It is also important to eat healthy foods and avoid sugar during this time period. For many, the teenage years are the years when they consume the most sugar; this is not a good idea.
For those who have braces, it is extremely important to take out the removable parts and brush thoroughly every day.
Pregnancy brings an entirely new set of hormones into the equation. Around the two month mark, noticeable changes begin to occur. Brushing or flossing can cause bleeding. This condition is called “pregnancy gingivitis.” While it is only temporary, it can damage the tissues that hold your teeth in place if you aren’t careful.
Luckily, pregnancy gingivitis occurs mostly in people who have had previous gum problems. If your gums are normally healthy and you maintain an effective regimen of brushing and flossing, it shouldn’t affect you and you won’t need to visit an emergency dentist.
Pyogenic granulomas, also known as “pregnancy tumours,” often show up during pregnancy. They are lumpy, red lesions that show up between the teeth along the gum line. These can be left alone; they are harmless and disappear shortly after giving birth.
We all know about the food cravings that are common during pregnancy but it is important to try and limit the sugary foods and beverages or substitute healthy options such as fruit and yoghurt.
Morning sickness doesn’t seem like something that would affect your dental health but it causes stomach acid to get on your teeth. If you brush your teeth within an hour of vomiting, the acid can damage your tooth enamel. Better options: rinse with water and baking soda, eat an acid-neutralising food such as hard cheese or chew sugar-less gum.
Dry mouth can be problematic because it reduces your mouth’s best defense against bacteria: saliva. Also, a condition called gingivostomatitis can appear, in which the the gums turn pale to deep red and shiny and bleed. See your dentist immediately if this happens.
Menstruation and menopause can also cause their own sets of problems. If you would like to learn more, you can visit the ADA website. However, we want to remind men that it is equally important for them to make regular dental visits to avoid trips to the emergency dentist.
Ultimately, Dental Health Week is for everyone: male, female, young and old. For everyone across the board, the two most important factors to maintaining good dental health are good oral hygiene and regular trips to the dentist.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, we encourage you to discuss these matters with an appropriately qualified health practitioner.