How hormones affect dental health in women – Part 1
Hormones control and regulate various functions of the human body. They can affect your weight, mood, sex drive and dental health. You may be surprised to learn that hormone surges may make you more vulnerable to gum diseases. Hereâs why: More female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) cause more blood to flow to your gums, which causes them to become more sensitive and “overreactâ to anything that may irritate them. Women are more sensitive to the presence of plaque and bacteria around the gums. When the hormone levels are high, this can cause your gums to become inflamed, swell and bleed. If left untreated, ongoing inflammation in the gums can also lead to bone loss around the teeth and eventual tooth loss, as mentioned in previous articles.
Your hormones are a fact of life, but gum disease not so much. Itâs actually preventable and reversible in its early stages. So whatâs a woman to do? Start by paying extra attention and taking good care of your mouth during the following five times in your life: puberty, your period, using birth control pills, pregnancy and menopause.
Raging hormones can leave a teenage girlâs gums red, swollen and bleeding. (In some cases, the gumsâ overreaction to plaque may cause gums to actually grow bigger.) Some teenage girls may also find themselves developing canker sores, which usually heal on their own.
The best treatment? Prevention. Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste; floss once a day and see your dentist regularly. Removing plaque and bacteria thoroughly every day can reduce the inflammation, discomfort and bleeding.â
You may not notice any change in your mouth in the days before your period (most women donât). But if you have swollen gums, bleeding gums, canker sores or swollen salivary glands, hormones may be to blame. These symptoms should subside after your period stops â but if they donât, then the increased bleeding by your gums is signalling something else. Stay on top of your daily dental health routine, and if you find you have more sensitivity than usual before or during your period, schedule cleanings for about a week after it ends.
Contâd next weekâ¦