Dental Health Week

Dental health week is an opportunity for our often neglected teeth to be put into the spotlight for a change.

Our oral health is so important for a number of reasons and can be improved with the use of some very simplistic measures. Through dental health week, the Australian Dental Association will be looking at how aspects of women’s lives such as pregnancy and menopause may affect their oral health. As well as these specific issues, we will look at how your oral health can be improved with some simple practices.

 Did you know you should be brushing your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day? Majority of people don’t come close to doing this and problems can arise because of this. If you think about the amount of food and drinks you consume throughout the day, surely your teeth are worthy of four minutes of maintenance each day. It is one thing to clean your teeth for long enough but it is another thing to clean them correctly. You should always use a soft bristle, small headed toothbrush to ensure you’re not damaging your teeth or gums but are able to remove plaque efficiently. Approx 30 seconds should be spent in each quadrant of your mouth and it is vitally important not to neglect your back teeth and gums. 

Flossing is just as important as brushing as half of the surface of your teeth lies between your teeth. The only way to get to this part of your teeth is through flossing and should be done once each day. This will aid in preventing decay as well as keeping your gums nice and healthy. If you’re unsure of how to correctly floss your teeth, ask your dentist for tips to ensure you’re getting the most out of your flossing time. 

 For women, there are many aspects that can affect oral health throughout life including pregnancy, menstruation, menopause and puberty. Although not the fluffiest and most exciting subjects, they are all issues that most women will experience throughout life which means it’s very important that the surrounding implications are discussed. Sensitivity, gum disease and dry mouth are all common issues and can be very irritating to deal with, particularly when dealing with other issues in the body at the same time. 

Puberty is a time of change in more ways than one and your mouth is not discluded from this. Your body is creating all of these extra hormones and sending everything into a bit of a craze and this tends to send a lot more blood than usual to your gums. This increases sensitivity to plaque and makes your teeth a bit more irritated, with swollen gums that bleed easily. You’ll hear this referred to as puberty gingivitis and is quite common. It can be easily avoided by brushing, flossing and getting regular professional cleans. Eating healthier foods can also aid in prevention of puberty gingivitis. 

 Menstruation varies with every woman and the way in which periods can affect your oral health are no different. Sometimes, you will experience sore and sensitive gums a few days out from getting your period and this is caused by an increase in hormones and an accompanying buildup of plaque. Other people may develop a temporary form of gingivitis while others experience nothing at all. All symptoms can be dealt with easily through regular dental hygiene of brushing and flossing. It’s important to note that if it is too painful to brush or floss, you should see your dentist. 

 As well as experiencing ‘pregnancy gingivitis’ which is caused by increased hormones, women may experience ‘pregnancy tumours’ and ‘dry mouth’ throughout pregnancy. Pregnancy tumours are red lumps that appear on the gum line and between the teeth and are perfectly normal; they usually disappear when the pregnancy ends. All issues can be treated by visiting your dentist and are not a major issue, 

 Menopause is a time of many changes in your body and your teeth can experience these changes also. Many people will experience change in tastes with Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) which can be very unpleasant, but can be monitored and helped with treatment from your dentist. Other issues such as dry mouth and gingivitis are very common also.

Dental health week this year will explore all of these issues in a more indepth sense and look at preventative and treatment methods. There really is something for all women to learn from this dental health week as most women will experience at least some of these issues throughout life. One thing to take from this though is that proper oral hygiene through correct brushing and flossing is the best practice to assist in preventing these issues from occurring.