KN Dentistry

Women, Hormones and Oral Health

Women are special. They are beautiful, powerful, nurturing, and their bodies are built to carry the gift of new life.

The phases of a woman's life are often guided by hormones that fluctuate and change with each life season. Most commonly, it is the balance of estrogen and progesterone that changes and initiates puberty, menstruation, and menopause. These hormones also play a large role in pregnancy and creating a healthy environment for unborn children to grow.

Hormonal changes throughout our lives can also impact our oral health. Some of the most common ways include:

Puberty - At some point, commonly between the ages of 8 and 13, girls begin to develop into women. This process involves a rush of hormones that can cause increased blood flow to their gums, resulting in swollen, tender or bleeding gums. The hormones can also change the way the body reacts to plaque and the bacteria within it. Brushing carefully, flossing and regular visits to the dentist are the best course of action and our skilled dental hygienists can provide support and guidelines to improve oral health and help the gums feel better.

Periods - Some women experience sore, bleeding gums just before menstruation when hormones are peaking. Others, are more likely to get canker sores. Maintaining gentle, effective oral health care during this time is important as always, and the symptoms tend to go away once your period has started.

Pregnancy - Up to 75% of pregnant women develop gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums that can lead to a more serious periodontal gum disease. The symptoms are gums that are swollen, tender or bleed, as well as potentially experiencing bad breath. Some studies have linked gum disease during pregnancy with premature birth or low birth weight babies, so we may recommend additional care if your gums are inflamed.

Hormone Based Birth Control - While more recent forms of this type of birth control have lower hormone levels, it is still important to take extra  care with your gums to prevent hormonal gingivitis. Some synthetic types of hormones may suppress natural hormones, which could lead to issues with the TMJ joint that connects your jaw to your skull. It is also important to keep in mind that some antibiotics can suppress the effectiveness of birth control pills and when taking them you will want to use a secondary method for preventing pregnancy.

Menopause - When our hormone levels start to diminish our oral health considerations change as well. Entering the menopause phase of your life may mean that your sense of taste is altered, you experience a dry or burning sensation in your mouth, or develop bone loss in your jaw due to osteoporosis. There may also be issues caused by medications, medical conditions or vitamin deficiencies. Working with a doctor to optimize your overall health can be beneficial for your dental health as well.

In all phases of their lives and different levels of hormone balance, the important thing for women to remember is the value of focusing on their oral health with regular brushing, flossing and dental visits.

Please let us know if you are experiencing hormone fluctuations or have other concerns so we can help you keep your mouth healthy and happy.

We are here to help!

KN Dentistry - Orange, CA - (714) 633-2562

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