Sponsored by Hawaii Dental Service
National Women’s Health Week starts each year on Mother’s Day and encourages women to make their health a priority. Hawaii Dental Service (HDS) is highlighting the importance of oral health, as it changes through the various stages in a woman’s life. HI Now host Kanoe Gibson is with Dr. Candace Wada to talk about on the steps women can take to make their healthy smiles last a lifetime.
In general, women’s bodies are resilient. They go through various life moments that test their physical limits and sometimes that can affect their oral health. Dr. Wada says oral health should be a priority for everyone. A smile is one of the first things people notice and is the most obvious sign of good health. It’s also the first pathway for nutrients to enter and fuel our bodies.
Significant life moments such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause are major growth stages where a woman’s body goes through changes. During puberty, hormones may cause gum inflammation. At this stage, establishing a good oral hygiene routine helps prevent plaque buildup and cavities.
When it comes to pregnancy, women should visit their dentist within the first and second trimester. It’s also critical that the mother practices good oral health habits during this time. When a pregnant woman has poor oral health, she is more susceptible to gum disease, which can cause complications.
Once women reach menopause, estrogen levels decline, bone density changes, and women typically take more medications, some of which may have side effects such as dry mouth. Your dentist can identify changes in the health of your mouth, especially if you are diagnosed with certain medical conditions. These changes, coupled with poor oral health, may affect your diet and quality of life. For this reason, your relationship with your dentist should continue well into your retirement years.
Dr. Wada says the best advice she can give women is to continue the basics of good oral hygiene. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and seeing a dentist on a regular basis. She says she sees firsthand how a woman’s oral health can impact her overall health, confidence and quality of life. “Our smiles are connected to how we feel inside and out, so it’s important to take our oral health as seriously as we do our total body health,” Dr. Wada says.
About Hawaii Dental Service (HDS)
Hawaii Dental Service is the first and largest nonprofit dental service corporation in Hawaii providing dental benefit plans to more than a half million members. More than 95% of all licensed, practicing dentists in Hawaii participate with HDS, creating the largest network of dentists in the state.