Hormones affect every part of our bodies, and our teeth and gums are no exception. Being a woman means having to contend with a unique set of hormonal challenges, and it’s important to note that these challenges extend to oral health as well. There are five hormonal changes in particular that can impact the health of our teeth and gums:
The changes that occur during puberty can cause sensitivity in the gums. Sometimes, this can cause the gums to bleed during brushing and flossing. It’s crucial to continue regular oral hygiene practices (both brushing and flossing) during this time even if it feels a bit uncomfortable. If bleeding is extensive, or continues for a long period of time, be sure to consult with your dentist and rule out the possibility of developing periodontal disease.
Hormonal fluctuations during a woman’s regular cycle can cause a number of issues in the mouth, including swollen or bleeding gums and canker sores. Typically beginning one or two days before the period starts, these symptoms are usually gone within several days. If they last longer, consult with your dentist to rule out other causes.
During Use of Birth Control Pills
Similarly, birth control pills contain progesterone and have a similar effect on the body. Most noteworthy, it can cause gum tissues to become inflamed, which can increase the amount of dental plaque present in the mouth. This produces toxins, which can lead to infections and the development of periodontal disease.
Pregnancy can be a tumultuous season for oral health. The increase in the hormone progesterone, which can contribute to pregnancy gingivitis, is the most common cause of oral issues between months 2 and 8 of gestation. Because hormones have such a dramatic impact on gum health in particular during this time, it’s very important for women to keep regular, if not more frequent, appointments with their dentist during pregnancy. Dangerous complications can arise if oral health is neglected, both for the mother and the baby.
There are a few major ways that menopause can affect oral health. The most significant is the reduction of the hormone estrogen, which can reduce bone density and cause loss of bone tissues in the jaw or tooth loss. The second is that women produce less saliva during menopause, which can cause a “burning sensation” in the mouth and cause discomfort.
Finally, hormonal fluctuations during menopause are known to cause increased sensitivity to heat or cold in food or beverages.
Since most women are affected by one or another of these stages at any given point in their life, it’s especially important for them to keep regular dental appointments and to maintain good contact with their dentist when they are experiencing discomfort, pain, or symptoms of periodontal disease.
To learn more, visit Dr. Kye at: https://www.kyedentistry.com or call us at 704-896- 0515.
Dr. Kye cares for patients in the greater Charlotte neighborhoods of Huntersville, Lake Norman and Cornelius.