We can all agree that we want girls to grow up to be brave instead of perfect, to feel beautiful for being smart and strong, and to be inspired by other women. We want them to have role models and opportunities in the dental industry. With over 30 percent of dentists and 90 percent of dental hygienists being female, the role models are here. It’s time to make sure we continue to focus on women’s health.
For women, there are many circumstances and factors that affect oral health that may seem completely unrelated to our mouth. However, menstruation, birth control, pregnancy and menopause all have an impact on hormone levels and blood flow that can also impact our teeth and gums.
In my course, Martinis and Menopause, we get real about the many changes the female body goes through as we age. From puberty, to pregnancies, perimenopause and beyond there are unique conditions presented to women both mentally and physically. Even our oral cavity can be affected.
Women’s health means the practice of women’s self-care; physically, mentally and emotionally. I recently spoke at the Delta Dental of Minnesota W.I.T.S. educational day on a topic that helps women (and the men who love them) to learn more about how important it is to take care of ourselves! It is paramount if we want to have longevity in the dental profession and be our best selves for our patients and our families.
In order to do this, we need to listen to our bodies and seek care when something seems off. When women become pregnant, they can experience developing or worsening periodontal (gum) disease, loose teeth or wearing down of tooth enamel. A woman’s menstrual cycle or her birth control can have an effect on her gum or tooth sensitivity and change how her mouth heals after undergoing a dental procedure. Going through menopause may cause some women to experience pain, dry mouth or bone loss.
In all of these cases, knowledge is power and by incorporating simple self-care strategies into our lives, women can slay that hormone groan and rejuvenate our sense of purpose. The truth is this: All women have the power to feel better and live better. Let’s celebrate that!