FROM MENARCHE TO MENOPAUSE – Oral Health of Women across lifespan
Shakespeare had written about the 7 stages of a man. He would not have guessed that centuries later; there would be a Women’s Day too! The poem ‘The Bangle Sellers’ by Mrs. Sarojinidevi Naidu' beautifully describes the three stages of a women’s life and relating them to the colours of her bangles. Coded with power and the journey into realizing the beauty and multiple dimensions of that power, phases in a woman’s life are based on the reproductive cycle beginning from puberty and till menopause.
Throughout the various stages of her life, women go through hormonal fluctuations. Puberty, mensuration, pregnancy and menopause cause hormonal changes in her body which can influence her health. Health of a woman and her oral cavity are bidirectional. Due to the hormonal changes they experience, women are more prone to oral health problems. Choosing the right oral care products created with ingredients to support their oral health will help them to protect their oral health during the sensitive phases of life.
Infant and Child
Baby girl, apple of the eye of everyone in the family, especially the father. Carefree, confident, sweet and lovely to talk to. She tries to understand the world around her. A cute, innocent phase when everything is being questioned and answers have to be given to her.
Young and old at the same time, hopes springing like the tides and emotions getting into war all the time. Puberty! Voice changing and body rearranging, surging levels of estrogen and progesterone during puberty affects the oral environment putting the women at an increased risk of gingivitis and periodontal problems. Increased concentration of estrogen and progesterone paves way for bacterial colonization which can cause gingivitis. Adopting a regular oral hygiene routine can help to counter mild cases of gingivitis. 50% of the children suffer from tooth decay during their adolescent age (Source: sciencedirect.com) Regular examination combined with a regular oral hygiene routine can help to avoid this.
An embodied experience that opens women to a unique force to manifest her ability to create. Progesterone levels rise midway through the menstrual cycles and then falls when the egg is not fertilized. Decrease in progesterone levels cause swollen gums, inflamed salivary glands bleeding gums and canker sores.
Birth Control Pills
A young lady, life is so lovely; and so are her dreams. Everything in life is seen through the shade of romance. While she gets aware of her life, so should be her awareness on oral health. Increased time to conception may lead to chronic periodontitis. Since contraceptives are made up of hormones to prevent fertility, taking birth control pills may result in hormonal changes in women. These hormonal changes may interrupt the blood circulation in gum tissues and also affect body’s response to reacting to plaque buildup thereby increasing the risk of oral health issues. Some oral contraceptives contain progesterone and may cause inflammation in the gums.
Carrying the world’s rhythm inside herself, with pregnancy comes physiological changes in the body. Being proactive is more important during pregnancy and special attention is required towards oral care. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may lead to oral issues. A study mentions that in India 60% of pregnant women have some dental issues. Bleeding gums, sensitivity, tooth pain are some common issues (Source: PubMed Central). Changes to dietary habits and sugar cravings may lead to increased risk of tooth decay. Oral hygiene plays an important role in safe motherhood. Proper oral hygiene habits are an essential part of pregnancy education.
Postpartum and Lactation
Hormonal changes during postpartum may lead to worsening of gum issues and can result in conditions like gingivitis (gum inflammation). Studies have shown significant decrease in the salivary concentration of calcium in breast feeding mothers. This might result in a decrease in remineralization of teeth thereby causing oral issues. Chances of dental caries and gingival problems including periodontitis increase due to hormonal changes and changes in the pH of the oral cavity (Source: Scielo.br)
Going through the various phases, she gains great emotional strength. Irreversible changes happen in her hormonal and reproductive functions. Menopause affects oral tissues in the same way it impacts other systems. Journeyed through her life, in the midway, during menopause, estrogen levels tend to fall resulting in dry gums, dry mouth, typical taste and a burning sensation. Salivary flow in the oral cavity depends upon the estrogen levels. Low saliva causes dry mouth leading to plaque, tooth decay and gum diseases.
A REGULAR ORAL HYGIENE ROUTINE
Adapting a regular oral hygiene routine with the right choice of products will help to prevent oral issues and also support overall health.
- Brush, Floss and Rinse with a Mouthwash twice every day. Brush before breakfast and rinse after.
- Clean the surface of your tongue every day. This helps in removing bacteria from the surface of your tongue.
- Make healthy food choices. Avoid sugary and acidic foods as these tend to erode the teeth enamel and can lead to cavities, tooth decay and even tooth loss.
- Regular dental check-ups are necessary as it helps in keeping teeth and gums healthy.
Dente91 She Toothpaste is the first-of-its-kind toothpaste in India specially created to protect as well as augment women’s oral health. It is powered with Folic acid (Vitamin B9), and Pyridoxine. Folic acid helps in reducing gingivitis (mild gum disease) Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) helps to fight dental caries. The toothpaste also contains Vitamin E and Vitamin D3 which helps to support women’s oral health across her lifespan. Lactoferrin in the toothpaste is multifunctional with antimicrobial properties. Nano Hydroxyapatite in Dente91 She toothpaste helps to remineralize teeth, prevent hypersensitivity and reduce plaque and gum irritation.
- A Literature Review on Women’s Oral Health Across the life span, Julia Lange Kessler, sciencedirect.com
- Comparison of Gingival and Dental Indices in Lactating and NonLactating Mothers During First 6 Month After Delivery, Zahra Aghazadeh, Ahmad Behroozian, Haniyeh Najafi, Masomeh Faramarzi, https://www.scielo.br.