08 Nov Hormones and Dental Health
They affect weight. They affect mood. They cause hunger, they cause fatigue. We’re talking about hormones, particularly female hormones. If you’re a woman, you know all too well the effect hormone surges can have on your everyday life. But did you know hormone surges also have an impact on your dental health?
Hormone surges, like those occurring during a menstrual period or pregnancy, can cause your gums to become more sensitive and overreact to irritants like plaque or bacteria. This sensitivity leads to redness, bleeding or swelling in the gums that can eventually lead to bone loss if inflammation is left untreated. Hormone surges occur throughout many stages of female lives, but women are at increased risk during the following times.
- Puberty. Hormone surges during puberty cause redness, swelling and bleeding in the gums as well as an increased risk for canker sores.
- Menstrual period. Your period can cause temporary swelling or bleeding in the gums, as well as canker sores and swollen salivary glands. If these symptoms persist in the weeks after your period has ended seek help from your dentist.
- Pregnancy. If you’ve been pregnant before your doctor or dentist likely warned you about “pregnancy gingivitis”, a mild form of gum disease that commonly occurs between the second and eighth month of pregnancy. The best way to fight this is to continue good dental hygiene practices and by visiting your dentist for a checkup at least once during pregnancy.
- Menopause. Menopause causes a number of uncomfortable symptoms in the body and mouth including altered tastes and increased sensitivity in the mouth. However, the two changes dentists are most concerned with are bone loss and dry mouth. Saliva helps keep our teeth free of cavities by washing away bacteria and leftover food particles. Lack of saliva, known as dry mouth, takes away your mouth’s ability to defend itself from cavity and gum disease-causing bacteria. Bone loss in your jaw bone can also lead to tooth loss, which is why it’s crucial to follow a healthy diet and to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups while also following a healthy dental hygiene routine.
This chart displays increases and decreases in hormone levels throughout a lifetime.
To learn more about the effects hormonal surges have on dental health, check out this article from MouthHealthy. If you are a woman experiencing hormonal surges it is crucial to visit your dentist for a checkup and professional cleaning during this stage of life. Click here to request an appointment for yourself or your daughter now.