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How hormones affect dental health in women – Part Il

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Using Birth Control Pills

Inflammation may have been a side effect for women taking birth control in the past, but today, there is good news for your gums. The levels of estrogen and progesterone in today’s birth control prescriptions are too low to cause any issues with your gums.

Still, it’s important to make sure your health history forms at the dentist are up-to-date, if you are taking birth control. Here’s why:

Your dentist may need to write you a prescription, and some medications can make your birth control less effective.

If you’re having a tooth removed, you may be more at risk for a painful complication called dry socket. According to a recent study, women who use oral contraceptives are nearly twice as likely to experience dry socket compared to those who do not. Of 100 women who took birth control, 13.9 experienced dry socket. Only 7.54 of 100 women who did not take birth control had this complication.

Pregnancy

During pregnancy your body is in hormonal overdrive. Some women find they have developed pregnancy gingivitis — a mild form of gum disease that causes gums to be red, tender and sore. It is most common between the second and eighth months of pregnancy, and you can help keep it under control through good daily habits. Practise proper brushing, proper flossing and be meticulous about the care of your entire body. 

Visiting your dentist during pregnancy is incredibly important – and absolutely safe. In fact, it may be recommended that you do more frequent cleanings during your second trimester and early third trimester to help control gingivitis. If you notice any other changes in your mouth during pregnancy, see your dentist. 

Menopause

Menopause is a huge change in a woman’s life and a woman’s mouth, including altered taste, burning sensations in your mouth and increased sensitivity. They’re all related to hormones.

Still, there are two critical changes to be aware of: dry mouth and bone loss. Saliva cleanses the teeth and rinses cavity-causing bacteria off your teeth. When you have dry mouth, your saliva flow decreases and you’re more at risk for cavities.

Talk to your dentist if your mouth is feeling dry. If it is a problem, suck on ice chips or sugar-free candy, drink water or other caffeine-free drinks and use an over-the-counter dry mouth spray, or rinse to help reduce the dryness.

What you eat can also make a difference when it comes to dry mouth. Avoid salty, spicy, sticky and sugary foods, as well as dry foods that are hard to chew. Alcohol, tobacco and caffeine can also make dry mouth worse.

Losing bone in your jaw can lead to tooth loss. The decreased estrogen that occurs with menopause also puts you at risk for a loss of bone density. Signs of bone loss in your jaw can be something as simple as receding gums. When your gums recede, more of your tooth is exposed and that puts more of your tooth at risk for decay. And if your mouth is dry, that’s worse.

To help reduce your risk of bone loss, work with your dentist or physician to make sure you are getting the right amount of calcium and vitamin D, don’t smoke and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
 
Dr Keith John

Email: rkeithjohn@gmail.com

Clinic: Heritage Dental

Tel: 784-456-2220

Cell: 784-526-0752

 
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