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Women’s Hormones and Their Effects on Oral Health

Oral Health

Women’s Hormones and Their Effects on Oral Health

Feb 20 • oral health for women


Hormones play a key role in our lives. They regulate many of our daily functions and affect hundreds of bodily processes such as blood sugar, blood pressure, metabolism, growth, fertility, sex drive, and sleep. Hormones also influence how we think and act every day.

Hormones also affect oral health, especially for women. Estrogen and progesterone can increase blood flow and prevent bone loss. But as we get older, these hormones decrease in the body, leading to oral health issues. Hormonal fluctuations occur throughout a woman’s life, particularly during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. These changes can affect oral tissues and increase susceptibility to certain dental issues. 

How Hormones Play a Role

Hormones can affect the health of your teeth and gums at the following times:

  • Puberty. During puberty, hormonal changes can lead to increased blood flow to the gums, causing them to become more sensitive and prone to inflammation. This can result in gingivitis, which is characterized by swollen, red, and tender gums. Canker sores are also common, but they tend to heal on their own.
  • Menstruation. Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle may result in changes in the oral cavity, such as swollen gums, canker sores, or bleeding gums. These symptoms typically occur a few days before menstruation and improve afterward. However, some women may experience worsened oral health during this time.
  • Pregnancy. Pregnancy brings about significant hormonal changes, particularly increased levels of estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal shifts can increase the risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease. Pregnant women may experience pregnancy gingivitis, characterized by swollen, tender gums that bleed easily. Poor oral health during pregnancy has also been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth and low birth weight.
  • Menopause. As women reach menopause, declining estrogen levels can lead to changes in oral health. Women may experience dry mouth, burning sensations, and painful gums and teeth. Menopausal women also face an increased risk of osteoporosis, which can increase the risk of tooth loss.
  • Oral contraceptives. Use of hormonal contraceptives, including birth control pills, can also impact oral health. Some women may experience oral contraceptive-induced gingivitis, characterized by gum inflammation and increased sensitivity. This condition is more common in women who use contraceptives containing progesterone.

What You Can Do

Dealing with these issues can be frustrating, but there are some things you can do to make your mouth more comfortable, regardless of what hormonal stage you are in. Here’s what you can do:

  • Brush and floss daily. When it comes to dealing with oral health issues, prevention is key. Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Be sure to see your dentist regularly — at least twice a year. Keeping your teeth clean on a daily basis can reduce inflammation, discomfort, and bleeding.
  • Be aware of sensitivity. You may need to make changes to ensure you’re not dealing with sensitivity issues at certain months of the month. For example, if your teeth get sensitive when you’re on your period, be mindful of what you eat and avoid dental cleanings.
  • Let your dentist know if you are taking oral contraceptives. Certain medications can reduce the effectiveness of your birth control. Plus, birth control pills can cause a condition called dry socket. It occurs when a blood clot does not form where the tooth was removed, or the blood clot dissolves before the wound has healed. Dry sockets can be very painful. 
  • Visit your dentist during pregnancy. Don’t avoid the dentist while pregnant. In fact, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings toward the end of your pregnancy to help control gingivitis. Don’t worry, it’s safe. 
  • Be wary of dry mouth. This condition is common as you get older. Talk to your dentist if your mouth is feeling dry. There are some things you can do, such as suck on ice chips or sugar-free candy or drink more water. There are also over-the-counter dry mouth sprays and rinses to help reduce the dryness. Your dentist may also recommend prescription strength fluoride toothpaste, which can help reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Contact Our Experienced North Vancouver Dentist Today

Hormones affect women at every stage of life, from puberty to menopause. They can cause a variety of tooth and gum issues, resulting in pain, cavities, tooth loss, and other issues. 
Schedule a checkup with Blue Sky Dental today. Whether your dental issues are caused by hormones or other issues, we can help your mouth look and feel healthier. Call (604) 971-6999 to schedule an appointment.

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