Both men and women experience significant changes in hormone levels throughout their lives. When it comes to dental health, hormonal changes seem to have a significant impact on women.
Whether it be puberty, pregnancy, birth control, your monthly cycle, or menopause, these changes can present unique challenges to your oral health. In this article, we’re going to go over the most common hormonal shifts that women experience, and how to ensure that you care for your teeth and gums properly during these times.
Oral health during puberty
Puberty is a critical development time in any young girl’s life. It can be a time of stress for parents, but it’s important to remember just how many hormonal changes (including a dramatic increase in estrogen and progesterone) your daughter is going through at this age.
In fact, young girls who are going through puberty often have swollen, red, or bleeding gums, and they develop canker sores frequently. The change in the gums is due to the increase in blood flow, which changes how gum tissue reacts to foreign material (such as sugary foods or plaque).
Oral health while on birth control
It’s important to tell your dentist if you are on birth control, as some medications he or she prescribes could negate the effectiveness of your birth control pills. While some women report swollen gums while on birth control, this isn’t an issue for most women.
Just like in any other stage of life, it’s important to see your dentist for regular exams and teeth cleanings.
Oral health during your menstrual cycle
As you probably know all too well, your monthly menstrual cycle can wreak havoc on your body, and your oral health is no different. Due to the increase in progesterone, you may experience swollen or bleeding gums and even swollen salivary glands.
The important thing is to stick with your daily dental routine (which includes brushing twice a day and flossing every day) in order to stay on the right track for excellent oral health.
Oral health during pregnancy
We all know how important it is to take care of yourself during pregnancy; and ensuring your dental health is in check is no different. In fact, dentists often recommend that pregnant women increase their dental visits during pregnancy.
The reason is simple — pregnancy gingivitis.
This culprit likes to flare up during pregnancy when women’s hormones are in overdrive. While it may seem easy to just shrug it off and delay your cleanings until after your child arrives, we recommend seeing a dentist frequently during your pregnancy.
Oral health during menopause
Women can experience a variety of oral issues due to medications that are taken during menopause, as well as the overall decline in estrogen levels. In fact, altered taste, burning sensations, dry mouth, and loss of jawbone (which can lead to tooth loss) are all common during menopause.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to visit a dentist soon so you can get a handle on it. Visiting your dentist to come up with a specific treatment plan to combat your symptoms is also important.
Regardless of your age, going to the dentist should always be a priority
The bottom line is that, regardless of your age or what hormonal changes you are currently experiencing, going to the dentist for routine oral exams and cleanings is vital to your overall health and well-being.
Many people are surprised to learn that keeping your teeth and gums healthy, not only improves your oral health, but may even reduce your chances of diabetes and heart disease.
(To learn more about this topic, read this article from the American Dental Association (http://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/oral-systemic-health)).
If you are in or around the West Babylon or Patchogue areas (or anywhere along the South Shore of Long Island), we encourage you to contact our practice nearest you (we have two locations: Babylon Dental Care of Great South Bay and Babylon Dental Care of Gateway Plaza).