Women’s Oral Health Problems + Products to Help
Though women tend to have healthier habits and visit the dentist more than men, women are prone to gender-specific oral health risks. Here are some common problems, as well as some products that can help:
Problem: Cold Sores
Product: Antiviral creams
More annoying than the kind you get from going sockless, fever blisters affect an estimated 45% of Americans. Also known as cold sores, this oral disorder is caused by a contagious virus called herpes simplex. Many women notice an outbreak during menstruation. This has less to do with hormones and more to do with the stress you experience at that time of the month.
Though there's no “cure” for fever blisters, though antiviral creams can help. The creams can ease the pain and reduce how long the blisters stay. Luckily, their frequency subsides after age 35.
Problem: Dry Mouth
Product(s): Toothpaste without sodium laurel sulfate
The roller coaster ride of hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy and menopause cause the composition of your saliva to change. A dirt-lifting ingredient commonly found in toothpaste, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), can further dry out an already parched pallet. Purchase a paste that's SLS-free and take frequent sips of water throughout the day. You may want to try saliva stimulants on the market, but be sure to avoid alcohol-based mouth-rinses as they add to the dry mouth.
Problem: Tender Gums
Product: Toothpaste or gel containing benzocaine
You are woman, but should your gums roar? Changes in hormones—like those experienced during pregnancy and your monthly period—can cause gums to become red and tender. Schedule a dental visit to see if your inflammation is cause for concern.
In the meantime, ease the pain with a paste or gel containing no more than 20% benzocaine. Benzocaine is a temporary numbing agent for oral irritations and should be used wisely.
Get back to running the world, ladies. Part of leading the charge is taking charge—of your dental health. Want more tips? Find out what menstrual cycles mean for your mouth.