An imbalance in hormone levels can affect a woman’s overall health and life. Hormones significantly affect a woman's health right after hitting puberty. Did you know that hormones can also impact women’s oral health and dental care requirements? It makes it imperative to understand how hormones can affect women's dental health.
Women have unique oral health concerns. During the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause, hormonal changes can raise your risk of mouth, teeth, or gums problems. Many women suffer from gum diseases due to hormonal changes. Health issues such as diabetes can also affect your oral health condition.
Moreover, it also affects how your body responds to toxins. Our body carries hormones throughout the bloodstream. It implies that your blood supply is the first to be affected by your hormonal level fluctuations. When bacteria and other infections weaken your gums, hormonal changes make them more prone to getting attacked by toxins, making our teeth vulnerable to periodontal disease. If you leave it untreated, it can lead to tooth loss.
What is the connection between hormones and their effect on oral health?
Women suffer from hormonal changes throughout their lifespan, but there are specific times when these changes are drastic, and your teeth and gums are at high risk. Let's look at some of those stages:
- Puberty: The first time a woman's health suffers from hormonal change is at the time of puberty. During puberty, the hypothalamus starts producing estrogen. Your gums might become red, tender, and swollen based due to increased estrogen levels.
Women might also develop canker sores or mouth ulcers when their estrogen level rises. At this time, it is vital to practice good oral habits such as brushing teeth twice a day and carrying out dental flossing at least once a day. You can treat sore gums by trying to reduce the formation of plague.
- Through periods: Hormones and teeth sensitivity come hand in hand. Each month before the menstrual cycle starts, a woman's estrogen and progesterone levels rise. It can make the gums and teeth sensitive, red, and swollen. You may experience sore mouth and gums before your period. It also causes your gums to bleed easily and leads to canker sores. Usually, these symptoms start a few days before the period begins continuing throughout the period, then they disappear once your periods are over.
- While you are on your birth control: Birth control also impacts your oral health. Even though estrogen and progesterone have less impact on the gum, birth control can enhance the risk of dry socket after extraction of the tooth. It is also vital to let your dentist know that you are taking birth control as they hinder the action of the antibiotics prescribed.
- PCOD/PCOS: Women with PCOD/PCOS are at increased risk of periodontal disease. Metabolic disruption in PCOS refers to hormonal imbalances and altered metabolic pathways causing menstrual irregularities. A woman with PCOS may experience elevations in their levels of estrogen and progesterone that could impact oral health. Also, women with PCOS are at increased risk of obesity, insulin resistance, and type II diabetes – all of which are risk factors for periodontal disease. Preventing and managing these conditions can improve their oral health as well as their overall health.
- Thyroid disorders: The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate various bodily functions. In its normal state, it instills homeostasis across various systems in the body. An overactive or underactive thyroid both can impact the production of hormones and bodily functions impacting your overall health. Thyroid imbalance is also associated with poor periodontal health like cavities, osteoporosis in the jaws, and rapid tooth growth in children and others.
- Pregnancy: At the time of pregnancy, many changes occur in a women's body. Among these is a high level of estrogen and progesterone. The amount of estrogen produced during single pregnancy is even more than what she will make in her entire lifespan. Because of such estrogen levels, many women suffer from oral health conditions during pregnancy like gingivitis, characterized by red, swollen, and tender gums that bleed easily. Gum disease is also linked with pregnancy complications like preeclampsia (indicating kidney damage (proteinuria), or other signs of organ damage) low birth weight, and premature birth. At the time of pregnancy, it is essential to consult your dentist for preventive cleaning.
- Menopause: When a woman enters the menopause stage, her estrogen level drops, affecting her oral health. Apart from burning sensations and changed taste, a drop in estrogen level also causes dry mouth and loss of bone. A dry mouth means less production of saliva, which means tooth decay. So, it is vital to make regular visits to the dentist to have dental exams and cleanings.
What can you do to avoid oral health issues?
We cannot deny that hormones have a high impact on a women's oral health. But there are certain things you can do to protect your teeth in all stages of life. Here are a few tips that help you minimize the effects of fluctuating hormones on your dental health:
- Brush your teeth twice a day, floss after each meal or at least before bed, and rinse your mouth several times a day.
- Stay hydrated- it helps prevent dry mouth, washes away plaque and bacteria, and detoxifies your body.
- Visit your dentists' at least twice a year for dental cleanings and examinations to catch any early warning signs before they become big problems.
- Always eat a well-balanced diet rich in minerals and elements, drink a lot of water, and avoid sweets and starchy food.
- Always make good lifestyle choices that help keep you healthy and safe.
- Adequate fluoride exposure is also an essential factor in preventing dental problems like tooth caries.
- Consult your dentist to know when to use antibacterial mouth rinse and ask about all concerns that you have about your dental health.
- Try to quit smoking and avoid consuming excessive alcohol as it damages your gums and your teeth become more prone to infection and decay.
Hormones and oral health are strongly related. Even if we cannot prevent hormonal fluctuations, we can minimize the effects and decrease the damage caused to your teeth and gums. Log into MyDentalplan.in- India’s Largest dental platform where you get access to many dentists and dental clinics to help you with your dental requirements.
Suprithi Choudhary, M.Pharm (Pharmacology) Medical Content writer
Suprithi is a Pharma Professional working as a medical content writer and previously worked as a Research Scientist and Senior Research Analyst
- C.M Academy
- Attended the Panjab University- Chandigarh, Pharma post-graduate in Pharmacology
Special thanks to Dr Deepak Kulkarni, a dental surgeon with over 23 years of experience who proofread this blog. He graduated from the H.K.E's Dental College, Gulbarga, and has certifications in ACHS International Accreditation Education Plan; Advanced Rotary Endodontic - Restorative Continuum; and Leadership, Team Building and Customer Service Leadership from the Oscar Murphy International.