Contrary to how some brands are marketing new gender-specific products, dental items are unisex. However, even 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 products that can help you through each stage of womanhood.
Commonly experienced: During pregnancy and menopause
Try: Toothpaste without sodium laurel sulfate; chewing gum with xylitol
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. To stimulate saliva, try chewing a sugar-free gum that contains xylitol. The act of chewing keeps your mouth moist, while the xylitol wards off bacteria.
Commonly experienced: During your period
Try: Phenol-based ointment
More annoying than the kind you get from going sockless on a hike, 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 during that time of the month.
Though there’s no “cure” for fever blisters, a phenol-based ointment can help. The ingredient numbs the pain of the cold sore, while protecting the surface of the sore from irritation. Thankfully, their frequency subsides after age 35.
Commonly experienced: During pregnancy, before your period
Try: Toothpaste or gel containing benzocaine
You are woman, but should your gums roar? Changes in hormones—like those experienced during pregnancy and your menstrual cycle—can cause gums to become red and tender. Consider scheduling a dental visit to ensure your inflammation is not 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.
Get back to running the world, ladies. Part of leading the charge is taking charge—of your dental health. Find out what menstrual cycles mean for your mouth.