What every woman should know about hormones and dental care
Hormones affect women’s oral health to the greatest extent during five different life stages. Being aware of this can help you avoid harming your teeth and gums.
Hormones go through major changes during puberty. According to information published by the American Dental Association (ADA) at mouthhealthy.org, hormones changes can affect teenage girls’ oral health. Their gums can swell, turn red and bleed. And, if the gums overreact to plaque, gums may even grow larger. Canker sores are also a problem that some teenagers experience. The best preventative is brushing twice a day, flossing and getting regular dental cleaning.
Some girls experience the same gum problems during their time of the month. Hormones can trigger swelling and bleeding. However, the symptoms should disappear when the period stops. What you can do is be aware of the issue and ensure you follow good dental hygiene. Also, you may experience more sensitivity during your period. If so, you can try scheduling teeth cleaning about a week after your period ends.
Birth Control Pills
In the past, birth control pills had a side effect of gum inflammation. However, today’s pills keep hormones better balanced. Despite this fact, be sure to list that you take birth control pills on your dental history form. Be aware that some medications your dentist might prescribe could make your contraceptives less effective.
Also, with tooth extraction, you may be more prone to dry socket if you’re taking birth control pills. Statistics show women using oral contraceptives are almost 50% more likely to experience dry sock symptoms than other women. With dry socket, the blood clot that forms after an extraction gets dissolved or dislodged, leaving the socket dry. Furthermore, dry socket can be very painful.
Hormones change dramatically during pregnancy. In fact, pregnancy gingivitis can occur, which is a mild form of gum disease. Gums become red, sensitive and sore. You should maintain good dental hygiene and visit your dentist during pregnancy. Your dentist may suggest more frequent dental cleanings during your second and early third trimesters to help reduce gingivitis.
Menopause is likely the greatest hormonal change women experience. How can it affect your dental health? Your sense of taste may change. You may experience increased sensitivity and burning sensations in your mouth.
Dry mouth and bone less are two of the biggest problems during menopause.
Saliva is necessary to wash away cavity-producing bacteria. To deal with dry mouth, your dentist may suggest sucking on ice chips or sugar free candy. Also, drinking water or other caffeine-free drinks can help. For some women, an over-the-counter dry mouth rinse or spray can also lessen dryness.
Bone loss occurs as a result of decreased estrogen. The loss can lead to receding gums.
As in the other stages of women’s lives, good dental hygiene and regular checkups can help you protect your oral health.