Any woman who has hit puberty is very familiar with and well aware of the effects hormones can have on a person’s life. They can impact many aspects of our lives and our health, but many women are surprised to learn that changes in hormones can also impact their oral health and dental care needs. Since oral health is a very important link to overall good health, understanding how hormones affect women’s dental health is critical to preserving good healthy habits and lifestyle choices. Hormones and your oral health are much more closely connected than any women realize and the dental care team at Kopp Dental want to help our female patients protect their teeth and gums during the various hormonal changes they may experience in life.
Hormones and Oral Health
Hormones are most commonly carried through the body in the bloodstream, which means blood supply is one of the first things affected by highs and lows in hormone levels. The American Academy of Periodontology says over 38% of American women suffer from gum disease, that may make them more susceptible , due to female hormone changes. Not only are your gums affected but hormones affect your body’s response to toxins, such as bacteria found in your mouth. When the gums are weakened by bacteria and infections or when changes in hormones make them more open to attack from toxins, your teeth can also start to suffer as periodontal disease can set in. If left untreated, tooth loss can even occur!
When do Hormones Fluctuate?
Women go through some major hormonal changes throughout their lifespan but there are certain times where the changes are the most drastic and when your teeth and gums are at the greatest risk.
Hormones Can Affect Dental Health:
At Puberty – The two hormones most commonly produced in large quantities around the time a young girl hits puberty are progesterone and estrogen. The sudden influx of two powerful hormones ends up making gingivitis conditions more likely at a time where many young girls start to slack on dental care because of all the other changes going on in their bodies. Good oral care during this time is critically important, especially if the young girl is wearing braces or already has underlying dental issues such as cavities, misaligned teeth, or other concerns that are being addressed. At Kopp Dental, we can work with young patients as well.
Monthly Menstruation – If the onset of a menstrual cycle was not enough for a young girl to deal with, there also comes additional concern about her dental health during this time. Menstrual gingivitis is a temporary condition that many girls and even older women can experience where irritation, bleeding, and soreness is seen and felt in the gums a few days leading up their monthly cycle. These issues can continue during the menstrual period and usually lessens a day or two after their cycle ends. If the condition worsens or doesn’t end when your period ends, bring it up with your dental care team to make sure there’s not another underlying issue.
Birth Control – Since the presence of certain hormones affect women’s dental health, the same can be true when other hormones are added or taken away or the balance is thrown off with medications- like birth control pills. Women who use progesterone for birth control are likely to experience an increase in gum inflammation more often than women who don’t. When talking with your dentists about the medications you take, it is important to include birth control.
Pregnancy – to say that the female body goes through drastic changes during the course of a pregnancy is an understatement, but many women do not think about how these changes can affect their oral health. Pregnancy gingivitis is very common and can happen at nearly any point during the nine months of the pregnancy. Having healthy teeth and gums before you get pregnant gives you a better chance to head off problems. However, morning sickness, nausea, and dietary changes can have a big impact on your dental health as well. Pregnancy hormones affect women’s dental health dramatically in some cases, so monitored care is needed throughout the pregnancy.
Menopause – In addition to shifting changes in hormones throughout menopause, women who are older are also more likely to be taking more medications. Some of those medications can bring on side effects that lead to dry mouth. Saliva helps to rinse the mouth of bacteria and food particles, and when the mouth is too dry, tooth decay and gum disease have a higher likelihood. There are ways to combat dry mouth so make sure to bring it up to both your general health care provider and your dentist. At Kopp Dental, we understand how medications and hormones affect women’s dental health during menopause and are here to help.
What can I do to Avoid Oral Health Problems?
There is no denying that hormones affect women’s dental health. There are things you can do to protect your teeth throughout all the stages of life. Following these tips will help you fight the effects fluctuating hormones can have on your dental health:
Brush your teeth at least twice a day morning and night, floss after every meal or at the very least before bed, and rinse with mouthwash several times a day.
Visit your dentist at a minimum of twice a year for cleanings and dental exams to ensure early warning signs are caught before big problems develop.
Eat a well-balanced diet, drink lots of water, avoid sweet and starchy foods, and make good lifestyle choices that keep you healthy and safe.
Ask your dentist whether you should use an antimicrobial mouth rinse and about any concerns you have regarding your dental health.
If you have dry mouth, ask your dentist about treatments for this condition and how to reduce the negative impact it can have on your teeth and gums
Quit smoking and avoid excessive consumption of alcohol as both can damage your gums and make your teeth more prone to decay and infection.
Contact Kopp Dental Today
Hormones affect women’s dental health. It is a fact of life and is something we cannot change. But while we cannot avoid hormonal fluctuations throughout our lives, we can take steps to minimize the impact and reduce the damage it can cause to teeth and gums. The dental care experts at Kopp Dental are here to help all of our patients with their dental needs. If you have questions about the ways hormones affect women’s dental health and what you can do to stay on top of your dental care and hygiene routine, give us a call. No matter how young or old, Kopp Dental in Elmhurst IL is ready to help you fight your way to better health, no matter what curveballs life throws your way. Call now and schedule your consultation appointment and take the first steps to finding a dental care plan that is unique to your needs.