Hormones affect a number of different things in our life, from our mood to our behavior, but did you know they also impact our dental health? It’s true. An overabundance of hormones can actually put a person at risk for certain oral health issues. Below, we explain why that’s the case, and what you can do to prevent hormones from wreaking havoc on your oral health.
Hormones and Your Gums
Hormone overproduction and problems with dental health are more likely to occur in women. That’s because estrogen and progesterone cause more blood to flow to your gums, which makes them more sensitive to irritation. This can cause them to overreact to minor irritations by swelling or bleeding. Inflammation can also develop, and left untreated it can lead to bone loss around the teeth and eventual tooth decay.
Hormones can often get a little out of hand during puberty, which is also a time when gums can be vulnerable to hormone-related issues. Red, swollen and bleeding gums are all common during puberty, as are small canker sores, which typically heal just fine on their own. The best way to deal with hormone-related issues during this time period is by really focusing on caring for your oral hygiene. Brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and seeing a dentist at regular intervals can all help to prevent against plaque buildup and other issues that can contribute to dental discomfort.
Dental Health During Your Period and Pregnancy
Another time in which hormones can cause changes in your mouth is during your period. In fact, many women notice symptoms like swollen gums, bleeding gums or canker sores in the days leading up to their period. These symptoms are generally caused by a spike in hormone production, but if they continue after your period has ended, they may be a sign of a more serious dental issue, and you should talk to a dental professional.
Also, it’s worth noting that birth control should not have an impact on your oral health. The newer birth control prescriptions greatly control estrogen and progesterone levels, which help to prevent any sensitivity or gum issues in your mouth. However, if your dentist needs to write you a prescription, you should let them know about any other medications you are taking, including birth control, to ensure each medication remains effective.
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Finally, pregnancy can kick your hormones into overdrive. Some women develop a mild form of gingivitis during the second and eighth months of pregnancy, but this can usually be well-controlled by practicing good oral hygiene. You should absolutely continue to visit the dentist if you’re pregnant. Not only is it safe, but it can help to prevent against hormone-related issues brought on by pregnancy.
For more information about how hormones can affect your teeth and your gums, or to set up an appointment with Dr. Brooks, reach out to his office today.