To honor International Women’s Day on March 8 (and the whole month of March), let’s look at how oral health differs between men and women. Did you know that certain oral health issues are more likely to arise during pregnancy? Did you know that women tend to have better oral health than men? In this blog, we will look at the following:

  • How oral health differs in men and women
  • How hormones affect oral health
  • Who faces what risks?
  • Pregnancy and oral health

Regarding women’s oral health in Burkburnett, Texas, finding a great general dentist is a great place to start.

adult woman smiling with teeth

Comparing Physical Features of the Mouth

While men and women have the same oral anatomy with gum tissue and the number of teeth, there are some substantial differences in oral health between the two genders. Many of these differences result from biological and societal differences. For instance, men are more likely than women to develop oral cancers. Men are also more likely to suffer from periodontal disease (advanced gum disease). Fun fact: Women are likelier to keep dental appointments than their male counterparts.

Regarding the anatomy of the mouth, while men and women share many characteristics, there are some significant differences:  Men typically have larger oral facial features (mouth, pharynx, esophageal sphincter, and esophagus) than women. These physical differences do not pose any connection to the development of oral disease, which is more likely related to societal issues and risky behaviors some men engage in during adulthood. Hormones are a big factor when it comes to comparing women’s oral health in Burkburnett, Texas, to that of men.

Hormones and Oral Health

As many women know, changes in hormonal levels as they age present many challenges. Hormones send chemical messages that trigger certain body systems and functions. The signals control different systems, including blood pressure, blood sugar, emotional well-being, growth and development, metabolism, reproductive systems, libido, and sleep regulation, just to name a few.

Changes in hormone levels affect the signals and how the signals are received (the body’s responses to the signals). Hormonal changes definitely affect the blood supply to women’s gum tissue, and hormones also affect infection response to oral health toxins. 

According to the National Library of Medicine: “Changes in sex hormones can accelerate the progression of gum disease and bone loss. As the sex hormones decrease, the sensitivity of interacting cells and growth regulators increases, which disrupts the typical reaction to infection and inflammation. The responsive changes then speed up the bone mass and density loss in the jaw and bone.”

Pregnancy and Oral Health

Did you know that the chances of developing periodontal disease increase during pregnancy? Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, while periodontal disease indicates more advanced stages of gum disease. Not only do women face all the body changes that come with pregnancy, but biological and hormonal changes during pregnancy affect oral health. Thankfully, almost all oral health challenges pregnant women face are treatable and never spread to the unborn baby.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gingivitis affects 60% to 75% of pregnant women. An increase in estrogen and progesterone levels causes gingivitis. Estrogen and progesterone are essential hormones that help the fetus grow and develop, but they also cause many changes to a woman’s body. Inflammation of the gums is one such change. While it’s unclear what causes this, the woman’s decreased ability to respond to plaque bacteria during pregnancy may be one cause, and is increased blood flow to the gum tissue.

Learn More About Women’s Oral Health in Burkburnett, Texas

The Burkburnett general dentist at Burkburnett Family Dental takes care of the oral health of men, women, and children. In honor of International Women’s Day, March 8, why not schedule a dental exam so Burkburnett general dentist Dr. Kyle Clark and his dental team can assess your current dental health and make recommendations regarding great oral health maintenance? 

Maybe you’ve left a cavity untreated, or you have some gum irritation when you brush your teeth. Maybe you’re pregnant and want to ensure you don’t develop gum disease. Maybe you just haven’t had a dental exam in many years. Whatever the case may be, please contact Burkburnett Family Dental (940) 569-4901 or fill our out online contact form. One of our amazing dental team members will reach out to answer questions or schedule a new patient appointment.