Do you know that hormonal imbalance and oral health in women are both interlinked?
Hormones are chemical messengers in your body and produce in endocrine glands.
Moreover, these are powerful chemicals that travel around your bloodstream telling the tissues and organs what to do.
They also help to control many major processes in your body including metabolism and reproduction.
It is important to note that women are more susceptible to oral health issues because of the unique changes women experience.
Furthermore, hormones not only affect the blood supply, but also the response of your body to toxins that result from plaque buildup.
Due to hormonal changes, women are more prone to the development of periodontal diseases at certain stages of their lives, as well as to other oral health conditions.
Let’s learn more about them in detail.
Signs and Symptoms of a Hormonal Imbalance
Your hormones play a crucial role in your overall health.
As a result, there is a broad range of sing and symptoms that can signal a hormonal imbalance.
Moreover, your signs and symptoms will depend on which hormones are not working properly.
Some common hormonal conditions that affect both men and women can cause any of the following signs and symptoms.
Weight gain, a hump of fat between the shoulders, unexplained and sometimes sudden weight loss, fatigue, muscle weakness, and sweating.
Some other signs and symptoms are:
- muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness
- pain, stiffness, or swelling in the joints
- increase or decrease in heart rate
- sensitivity to cold or hot
- constipation or frequent bowel movements
- frequent urination
- increase in thirst
- decrease in sex drive
Nervousness, anxiety or irritability, blurred vision, infertility, thinning of hair, or fine, brittle hair, dry skin, puffy face, rounded face, and purple or pink stretch marks are signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
Keep in mind that these symptoms are nonspecific and having them does not mean that you have a hormonal imbalance.
Signs and Symptoms in Women
In females of reproductive age, the most common hormonal imbalance is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, PCOS.
Moreover, your normal hormonal cycle also changes naturally during puberty, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause.
Some of the symptoms of hormonal imbalance that are specific to females are:
Heavy or irregular periods include missed periods, a stopped period, or a frequent period.
Hirsutism or excessive hair on the face, chin, or other parts of the body.
Acne on the face, chest, or upper back, vaginal dryness, atrophy, night sweats, and headaches.
Furthermore, darkening of the skin, especially along the neck creases, in the groin, and underneath the breasts, and skin tags are signs and symptoms in females.
Causes of Hormonal Imbalance
There are a number of causes of hormonal imbalance. Causes can differ and depend on which hormones or glands are affected.
Some of the common causes of hormonal imbalance are:
While it is also important to know that the following condition can also cause hormonal imbalance.
Having these conditions can lead to further hormonal imbalances.
Hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules, thyroiditis, hypogonadism, Cushing syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and Addison’s disease can cause hormonal imbalance.
While menopause, primary ovarian insufficiency, pregnancy, breastfeeding, PCOS, and hormone drugs can cause hormonal imbalance in women.
Now, let’s discuss the time’s hormonal imbalance can affect your oral health as a woman.
Hormonal Imbalance and Oral Health in Women
Women experience special dental and oral challenges as compared to men.
Moreover, the complex relationship between female hormones and oral health care can create a number of unwanted dental risks, symptoms, and problems at different stages of life.
It can cause dental issues ranging from gingivitis and dry mouth to an increase in the risk of tooth decay.
Once you understand how these changes affect you, you can take certain steps to cope with hormone-triggered oral health issues.
The following 4 situations in which hormonal imbalance in women can lead to changes and you will need to pay extra attention to the teeth and gums are during:
- menstrual cycles
Let’s discuss them as follows:
Puberty and Menstrual Cycle
One of the first major changes in your life as a female is during puberty. At this time, your body releases massive amounts of two hormones, estrogen, and progesterone.
These in turn can cause physical changes with adulthood and sexual maturity. This hormonal imbalance can also produce an unwanted effect that as gum disease.
Moreover, during puberty, the extra rush of hormones can make your gums especially vulnerable to this reaction.
On the other hand, through the childbearing years, the monthly cycle stems from hormonal fluctuations that affect all parts of your body including gums.
However, they will fade away after the period ends.
When you use birth control pills, these can increase estrogen and progesterone levels, interrupting menstruation.
This can also raise your risk for gum issues. Furthermore, smoking while on birth control can make to prone to dry socket following a tooth extraction.
Using of Oral Contraceptives
If you are taking birth control pills that contain progesterone, then you might experience gum inflammation in the tissues.
This is due to the exaggerated reaction of your body to the toxins that are produced from plaque.
One of the most profound changes in the gums is visible in the first few months after starting using birth control pills.
Newer birth control pills, however, have lower concentrations of the hormones. This can reduce the inflammatory response of your gums to dental plaque.
Moreover, this is one of the reasons you should tell your dentist you are using contraceptives.
Furthermore, certain medications like antibiotics can also cause issues.
Tell your dentist about these medications so that can prescribe a lower dosage of oral contraceptives.
Make sure to inform your dentist about the names and dosages of all medications you are taking as this can help them while planning your treatment.
Hormonal Imbalance and TMJ
Evidence suggests that the use of synthetic estrogen or birth control pills can lead to a decrease in the levels of natural estrogen.
A decrease in these levels is associated with another oral disorder that affects your temporomandibular joint, TMJ.
The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to the side of your head.
However, TMJ disorder can result from problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding muscles that help to control chewing and movement of the jaw.
As women and men, both experience TMJD, researchers are of the view that it might be hormone-related.
According to recent research, there is a connection between birth control pills, a decrease in natural estrogen, and TMJ.
Changes on the bones of this joint are observable and also come along with the effect of compression within the joint due to TMJ disorder and low levels of estrogen.
Thus, leading to an increase in inflammation. This inflammation can also result in osteoarthritis in the joint.
Make sure to inform your dentist about the medications you are taking, so that they can prescribe further dosage accordingly.
During pregnancy, your body is in hormonal hyperdrive, some women may find they have pregnancy gingivitis.
It is a mild form of gum disease that causes gums to be red, tender, and sore.
Moreover, it is most common between the second and eighth months of pregnancy and you can keep it under control through good oral habits.
Make sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day and be very vigilant about your entire body, according to ADA.
It is important to note that visiting your dentist while conceiving is very important and absolutely safe.
Your dentist may recommend more frequent cleaning during your second trimester and early third trimester to help control gingivitis.
In case you notice any other dental issues, make sure to seek medical advice.
A number of oral changes occur as you age, the medications you take, and hormonal changes due to menopause.
These changes can cause changes like altered taste, a burning sensation in the mouth, and an increase in sensitivity to hold and cold foods and beverages.
Moreover, it can also decrease salivary gland flow that can result in dry mouth.
Furthermore, dry mouth can lead to periodontal diseases as saliva is not available to moisten and cleanse the mouth by neutralizing the acids.
It is important to note that dry mouth can also result due to using certain over-the-counter and prescription medication in older adults.
The decline in estrogen levels that occurs with menopause can also put you at great risk for bone loss and osteoporosis as well as, inflammation of the tissues surrounding the teeth.
Loss of bone, particularly of the jaw, can lead to tooth loss. Receding gums can be a sign of bone loss in the jaw bone and also expose more tooth surfaces to potential tooth decay.
However, hormone therapy can play a role in preserving your dental health if you are postmenopausal.
Estrogen therapy can help to prevent bone loss in both the skeletal and jawbones.
Thus, hormone therapy can help to protect you against tooth loss if you are postmenopausal.
Steps you can take to Prevent Oral Health Problems
Make sure to follow the steps to prevent the development of oral health problems.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and floss once a day.
Visit your dentist twice a year for a dental checkup, oral examinations, and cleanings.
Eat a well-balanced and healthful diet, avoid sugary and starchy foods.
Ask your dentist if they think you should use an antimicrobial mouth rinse.
Moreover, in case of dry mouth, ask your dentist about treatment like artificial saliva.
Women are at an increased sensitivity to oral health problems of the unique hormonal changes that they experience. These changes not only affect your blood supply to the gum tissues but also the response of your body to toxins that result from plaque buildup.
As a result, you are more prone to periodontal diseases at certain stages of life, as well as, either oral health conditions. With the above preventive steps, you can take care of your oral cavity and prevent the development of oral conditions.