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What Every Woman Needs to Know About Hormones and Her Dental Health

Women of different diversity, race and ethnicity smiling

If your body produces female hormones, then you probably aren’t surprised by the havoc they can cause. You may be surprised, however, to learn that hormones can have a major impact on your oral health. How Hormones Affect Your Mouth The tissue and blood vessels in your gums are highly susceptible to the influence of hormones. Hormone fluctuations can increase the blood supply to your gums and heighten their sensitivity to toxins in dental plaque. As a result, your gums may become more prone to swelling and bleeding at certain points in your life. This can be problematic because the inflammation can quickly turn into a chronic infection. Puberty Onset and Menstruation Increase Your Risk of Gingivitis Many women have sensitive gums around the time that they get their period. You may notice that your gums feel a bit tight or itchy in some parts of your mouth or look puffier than usual right around the time you get your period. This swelling means that your gums are overreacting to bacteria on your teeth. The onset of puberty delivers an overwhelming rush of hormones that can make a young girl prone to a full-blown case of gingivitis. Can Hormone Birth Control Affect Your Gums? There are many individuals who have sensitive gums right about the time they start taking a birth control medication that contains progesterone. Some women suffer gum discomfort when they stop a hormonal birth control. Gum Health During Pregnancy Even if you don’t notice gum changes at any other point in your life, you will almost certainly have some if you become pregnant. Pregnancy will send you on a hormonal roller coaster unlike any other and your gums will attest to that. High progesterone levels will make your gums swell up quickly in response to the tiniest bits of plaque bacteria. They may be so swollen that even normal brushing and flossing activities make them bleed. The good news is that the so-called “pregnancy gingivitis” only lasts for a few months until your baby arrives. Menopause and Your Oral Health The gradual decrease in ovulation and estrogen production marks the onset of menopause. These hormonal changes can also affect the mouth. Here are a few oral health complications that are closely connected to menopause:

● Dry mouth ● Gum recession ● Increased risk for decay and gum disease ● Increased risk for TMJ problems ● Lowered bone density in the jaw ● Changes in taste perception

Protect Your Oral Health Despite Hormone Changes

Maintaining a good routine of oral hygiene will help you avoid many of the complications that accompany changes in your hormone levels. Brush and floss daily to reduce plaque in your mouth that can trigger gum inflammation. Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash and/or use an anti-gingivitis toothpaste to prohibit bacterial growth.

Despite the challenges of some hormonal changes such as those that happen with pregnancy, you still need to make time for dental checkups and cleanings. Professional dental care will help you keep the occasional bout of gingivitis from turning into something more serious. Family Dentist in Tacoma No matter what your age or gender is you can count on a Tacoma dentist to help you maintain the best oral health possible. Women, in particular, may need specially-tailored dental advice to help them stay on top of the changes in their oral health caused by hormone fluctuations. The team here at Duke N. Bui, DDS, PS - Family Dentistry welcomes all members of your family to enjoy the best in preventative dental care. We’re passionate about helping everyone in our community to live their best life. Call us today to schedule your visit.

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