You already know how your hormones can affect your weight, mood and sex drive, but have you ever considered their effect on your oral health? Hormonal changes that affect women throughout life can impact your dental health considerably. Knowing how they can affect you and how to maintain an optimal level of oral health can help a lot. Also, here at West Bowmanville Family Dental, every patient’s preventative oral care plan is carefully customized, so we can always help you maintain an optimal level of oral health no matter your age or stage of life.
How Can Hormones Affect Oral Health?
The hormones estrogen and progesterone can increase the risk of gum disease because they cause more blood to flow to your gums. The increased blood flow makes your gums more sensitive and more prone to react to anything that could irritate them, for example, a buildup of plaque and bacteria around the gums. When your hormone levels are higher, this increased sensitivity can be enough to cause gum inflammation, swelling and even bleeding. Without treatment, ongoing gum inflammation can cause bone loss around the teeth and potentially tooth loss.
While there’s nothing you can do about your hormones, gum disease is preventable and is often reversible during its early stages. Hormonal levels can change at four stages during your life and which are during puberty, periods, pregnancy, and menopause.
The increased flow of hormones can leave teenage girls at risk of developing red, swollen and bleeding gums. Sometimes the gums can become so sensitive that they grow bigger. Another risk is canker sores, though these usually heal without treatment. The best way to prevent these problems is by brushing twice a day and flossing once-a-day. Regularly removing plaque and bacteria can reduce inflammation and bleeding.
If you notice your gums swell or bleed, or that you are more likely to develop canker sores during your period, you may be able to blame your hormones. Once your period is over these symptoms should disappear, but if they don’t, it’s worth talking to your Newcastle dentist. During your period, make sure you have a meticulous oral hygiene routine. If your gums are more sensitive during your period, you might want to schedule hygiene appointments for a week after they end.
During pregnancy, it’s vital to look after your oral health as your hormones go into overdrive. Ideally, visit your dentist in Clarington before becoming pregnant or soon after you learn the happy news. Routine dental care is perfectly safe during pregnancy, and we will ensure we look after you both. Some women will develop a condition called pregnancy gingivitis which is a mild form of gum disease, causing the gums to become red, swollen and tender and which can make them more likely to bleed. Pregnancy gingivitis most often occurs between the second and eighth month of pregnancy. Our dentist may recommend more frequent hygiene appointments to stay on top of any problems with gingivitis.
Menopause can alter your sense of taste, and you may notice that your mouth feels more sensitive. It also increases the risk of dry mouth and bone loss. Dry mouth in Courtice increases your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. If you notice you have less saliva, talk to us about how to resolve this problem and drink plenty of water or chew sugar-free gum or suck sugar-free candies. You can also buy over-the-counter sprays to help keep your mouth moister. A decrease in estrogen can lead to bone loss or loss of bone density, so make sure your diet contains adequate calcium and vitamin D.