How Hormones Effect Your Oral Health

Calgary Womens Dentist SWWould you believe that hormones effect your dental health? It is true! And something that we probably don’t hear about too often. Most commonly this is an issue with women, as women experience fluctuations with estrogen and progesterone throughout their lifetimes and even monthly cycles.

Hormones have so many different functions within the body, so when major fluctuations occur, the results can be quite diverse! Hormones can impact the amount of blood flow to a given area, so an area such as the gums can be easily influenced. They are also responsible for reacting to certain toxins within the body, so issues like plaque build-up can be heavily influenced or compromised.

As women age, they go through a variety of hormonal fluctuations at different stages of their lives. These changes can make them more or less susceptible to periodontal diseases and other oral health problems.

Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause are obvious culprits in major hormonal fluctuations that can lead to changes in oral health. Probably less obvious occurrences happen around menstrual cycles and with the usage of birth control.

Let’s break down the actual mechanics of the issue for a moment here. When estrogen and progesterone levels in the body surge, or are out of balance, blood flow increases to the gums. This makes the gums more sensitive to irritants or stimulants like brushing or flossing.

Some women even suffer from ‘Menstruation Gingivitis’, a temporary flare up that occurs typically a few days prior to the start of a period and clears up shortly after it has begun.
Birth control pills have a similar affect. This also leads to a greater sensitivity toward the toxins released by plaque, causing inflamed gums that are tender and bright in colour.

Furthermore, these hormone surges change the amount of saliva production. Saliva is necessary for washing away and keeping in check the bacterial ecology within the mouth. A dry mouth can easily lead to an increase in bacteria that settles and can potentially cause decay.

During menopause, a decline in estrogen production puts women at risk for a loss of bone density as well. This can lead to issues with the jaw and therefore tooth loss.

Who knew those two hormones could have such a profound impact on dental health? If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. There are several actions you can take to ensure that your mouth is at its healthiest and you can minimize the impacts of these hormone fluctuations.

First and foremost, visit your dentist regularly! Regular cleanings can help to keep plaque levels at a minimum, discouraging heightened sensitivity. Talk to your dentist about an antibacterial mouth wash, this could help too in some cases. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing with a mouthwash are all musts for overall good dental hygiene, but if you are on top of it then you have a definite leg up in the hormone game!