Female hormones undergo many changes in a woman’s life.
Their life stages of puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause lead to hormonal imbalance.
This causes symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings and weight gain.
However, you might be unaware that these hormonal fluctuations also affect your oral health.
Yes, the mouth sores near your periods are not coincidental.
In fact, they are a result of hormonal imbalances.
Therefore, women are at a greater risk of getting dental problems during these 5 stages of life.
Want to know how it affects you?
Keep reading below to find out what oral health problems you come across due to your hormonal function.
How Female Hormones Affect Oral Health?
Hormones impact how the body reacts to toxins such as those resulting from plaque buildup.
During puberty, certain instances in the menstrual cycle, using birth control pills, pregnancy and menopause your hormone levels can drop or increase significantly.
This causes blood to rush to the gums putting you at risk of gum disease.
As the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone increase, your gum sensitivity also increases.
This way the gums overreact to even slightly irritating things.
Furthermore, sensitivity for plaque and bacteria also increases especially for those around the gums.
Though even if you are brushing teeth properly, you cannot completely get rid of plaque.
Therefore, when hormone levels increase, your gums can swell and bleed.
This can worsen to become periodontal disease if you leave it like that for a long time.
Hence, put you at risk of bone loss and tooth loss.
Therefore, you should notice if your gums regularly swell, bleed and have inflammation.
Especially notice if this is accompanied by other signs of hormonal imbalance like fatigue, less sleep, headaches, acne and increased appetite.
While you can also deal with your hormones, it is better to notice signs of oral problems soon.
One way to prevent these problems is to pay attention to each crucial stage of life.
Important Stages for Women: Puberty and Menstruation Cycle
During puberty, a girl’s body is growing mainly because of the reproductive hormones.
Hence, both estrogen and progesterone are raging.
This causes the gums to get sensitive especially to the plaque around them.
The reason behind this is an increased blood flow to the blood as the hormone levels increase.
Hence, a teenage girl going through puberty may notice swollen gums that bleed occasionally.
This is more likely to happen when they are brushing their teeth.
Also, the gums may swell to become bigger in size when they react to the irritants in plaque.
Their gum tissue becomes tender and red because of the blood flow.
Another sign of an increase in hormones is mouth sores.
They develop and heal on their own.
Therefore, they are nothing to worry about.
Puberty begins the menstrual cycle in a female’s life.
Some common signs before your periods are cramps and breakouts on your face.
Though, there are also oral problems that result from the increase in progesterone levels at this time.
During this time, you are likely to get:
- bleeding gums
- swollen salivary glands
- mouth/canker sores
- inflammation in gums
This may start one or two days before your periods begin.
These signs then disappear on their own as your menstruation starts and hormones come back to normal levels.
If you notice that your gum health does not return to normal on its own after your menstruation period ends, then it is not due to hormones.
The bleeding gums and inflammation is likely signaling gingivitis.
Visit your dentist to find out its cause and treat it if it does not subside on its own.
However, getting these signs before your periods and during the first few days is completely normal.
Oral Health During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time where your hormones are raging and fluctuating.
Your body undergoes several changes during this crucial time.
You are likely to develop pregnancy gingivitis during the second and eighth months of your pregnancy.
Your gums will become red because of the increase in blood flow.
Moreover, they will be tender, inflamed, and sore.
You can keep it under control by frequently brushing and flossing.
Proper oral care will protect this gingivitis from worsening.
Though, if it regularly bothers you then it is completely fine to visit the dentist.
Looking at your condition, your dentist will skip the Dental X-ray.
However, they will safely carry out your procedure and recommend teeth cleaning to subside gingivitis.
This includes the time of the second trimester and early third trimester to effectively prevent gum disease and control existing gingivitis.
Therefore, there is no need to hesitate when going to the dentist during pregnancy.
However, make sure you inform them in detail about your condition.
Taking Birth Control Pills
Previously birth control pills contained progesterone.
Hence, when women took them they were likely to get gum inflammation.
Moreover, the gums would become sensitive to toxins in plaque resulting in swollen gums.
However, now most birth control pills contain low levels of estrogen and progesterone.
Therefore, taking them does not pose the same risk as it did before and will not greatly impact your oral health.
Dental Health During Menopause
A woman reaches the perimenopause stage during her 40’s to 50’s.
Menopause causes a woman’s life to change physically.
Many symptoms associated with hormonal changes emerge at once.
You may get hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, hair loss and many more symptoms.
Likewise, there are also oral health concerns, such as:
- a burning sensation in the mouth
- tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods plus drinks
- a difference in taste
- dry mouth
- bone loss due to lack of estrogen
At the age of menopause, you might be also taking other medications.
Those along with a decrease in saliva due to hormonal changes result in a dry mouth.
A dry mouth does not only make your mouth parched and you feel thirsty.
Saliva is crucial in neutralizing the acids and bacteria inside your mouth.
When there is a decrease in saliva then the bacteria and acids are freer to attack your tooth enamel.
Plaque builds up on your teeth making them susceptible to gingivitis and tooth decay.
Hence, if the saliva inside your mouth decreases, you can soon develop a cavity inside your teeth.
One way to treat dry mouth is to use an artificial saliva stimulant or over-the-counter rinse to counteract the lack of saliva.
You can also try sugar-free chewing gum, sucking on ice cubes and keeping your mouth moist by regularly drinking water.
Moreover, take special care with what you eat and drink so that it does not exacerbate your condition.
Limit the intake of sugary, spicy and salty foods.
Also, take caffeine-free drinks and do not use alcohol or tobacco.
Try to keep the air moist especially at night using a humidifier.
If you do not find any of these helpful, consult your dentist.
Alongside a spray, artificial saliva stimulant, or rinse they may also recommend you to use fluoride toothpaste.
That will keep you from developing a cavity.
Besides that, there is a risk of bone loss when estrogen levels fall after menopause.
Bone density decreases hence, there is a risk of getting osteoporosis and bone loss.
If you lose a bone in your jaw then you will eventually lose a tooth.
You may have to get a dental implant to fix this problem.
These signs would first come as receding gums.
Your tooth surface is more exposed than usual as your gums recede.
Hence, it puts a greater part of your gums susceptible to decay.
What’s even worse is having a dry mouth with it.
Hence, you should visit your dentist more often during this time to ensure your teeth and gums are healthy.
How to Protect Oral Health During Fluctuations in Female Hormones?
Besides impacting your mood, body temperature and skin, fluctuating female hormones also play a part in your mouth health.
It is crucial to maintain good oral hygiene throughout your life but especially if you are going through these stages.
When your child is going through puberty, make sure that they brush thoroughly twice and floss daily.
If they complain of sensitivity, get them a fluoride toothpaste to use to clean plaque.
As they clean bacteria and plaque from their teeth and gums they can feel a considerable difference in bleeding and inflammation.
So make sure that their oral care is on point during this time.
During pregnancy, ensure that you visit your dentist regularly.
Getting checkups during the second and early third trimesters will help control gum inflammation and bleeding.
Moreover, keep brushing and flossing regularly.
Make it as important as caring for your body during pregnancy.
For postmenopausal women, estrogen therapy can help prevent the chances of getting tooth loss, decay, bone loss and periodontal disease.
Furthermore, you should make your visits to your dentist regularly.
Also, quit smoking and alcohol consumption.
Rather include calcium and Vitamin D supplements in your routine to prevent bone loss.
Besides oral health problems, hormonal changes can cause hair growth, acne and vaginal dryness.
Raging levels of hormones secreted from the pituitary gland, adrenal gland and endocrine gland can have many side effects on the body.
Follicle-stimulating hormone FSH levels and testosterone levels alongside estrogen and progesterone also impact your health during this time.
If you undergo a lot of medical issues then talk to your doctor to discuss your symptoms and additional information to determine your medical conditions.
They will conduct a blood test to find the cause of your hormonal imbalance.
Though changes in female hormones are inevitable. So, is their impact on dental health.
Though all of this is treatable as long as your oral hygiene is on point.
Keep brushing and flossing well throughout your life and you can prevent most of these problems from exacerbating.
This is how you can prevent serious oral health problems in life.