Causes and Symptoms of Hormonal Changes that may affect Women Oral Health
Posted on 4/10/2023 by Dr. Brandon Cooley
There are five crucial areas in a woman's life where changes in hormone levels increase her risk of oral health issues. These stages are puberty, the menstrual cycle, the use of oral contraceptives, pregnancy, and menopause.
During puberty, estrogen and progesterone levels increase blood flow to the gums, altering how gum tissue reacts to plaque. This can cause the gums to become inflamed, tender, and prone to bleeding while brushing and flossing.
The menstrual cycle can also affect oral health, with hormonal changes (significantly increased progesterone) causing symptoms such as swollen and red gums, swollen salivary glands, canker sores, and bleeding gums. This is commonly known as menstruation gingivitis and usually subsides after the period begins.
Some oral contraceptives containing progesterone can also cause gum inflammation due to the body's heightened reaction to plaque toxins. However, newer birth control pills with lower hormone concentrations tend to have a less significant impact on gum health.
During pregnancy, a substantial change in hormone levels, particularly progesterone, increases the risk of gingivitis caused by plaque. This is known as pregnancy gingivitis and usually occurs during the second to eighth month of pregnancy. Frequent dental cleanings during this time can help prevent the development of gingivitis.
Menopause brings about various oral changes, including altered taste, dry mouth, sensitivity to hot and cold foods, and a burning sensation in the mouth. The decline in estrogen levels also increases the risk of bone loss, including in the jaw, which can lead to tooth loss and periodontitis.
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