Women are more likely to develop oral health problems than men. Why? As a woman, our body is continually going through hormonal changes from when we are young teenagers to adulthood, including well into our elder years. These hormonal changes can alter our body in ways which leave us vulnerable to developing dental and gum problems.
We know hormones change our body, and sometimes we are aware of these changes like when we are are in our menstrual cycle, or they can go unnoticed. It’s with the subtle differences we want to be careful with and take necessary measurements to avoid the development of dental problems.
The most changes women experience is during puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause. As you can see, we are continually going through hormonal cycles that leave us vulnerable throughout the year.
We all know puberty is the time of change, and not the most fun one. One of the significant changes we can experience at a young age when two of our body’s hormones, estrogen, and progesterone, surge. When our hormone levels increase, it causes our body to have, including how it interacts with the bacteria found in our mouth. Our blow flow increases in our gums, leaving them sensitive to bacteria. They can become tender, red, or even causes us to bleed as we brush or floss.
As we go through puberty, we want to make sure we have good oral hygiene. We want to brush twice, especially before bedtime, and floss our teeth once a day.
More commonly known as your period or “the time of month,” it causes changes before you start your period and during. During the time you are about to start your period, your hormone levels increase, leaving the gums vulnerable to bacteria. You can experience oral changes such as swollen gums, bleeding gums, or swollen salivary glands. Women can even have menstruation gingivitis, which goes away within the first few days of your period.
Some women who begin to use birth control will experience changes in their oral health even though they are using birth control to minimize the levels of progesterone. Some of the side effects of birth control are due to the reaction our body has with bacteria leading to inflamed gums. If you plan on taking birth control medication, discuss with your doctor any changes in your oral health.
When we decide to grow our family, we need to prepare for the hormonal changes we go through our pregnancy, which is considerable. We want to take extra precautions when we are pregnant to prevent the development of gingivitis usually occurring during the second and eighth month of pregnancy. As our progesterone levels increase, we are susceptible to a mild form of gingivitis. Visiting the dentist during our visit will help you and your dentist monitor your oral health, but you also want to brush your teeth regularly.
Menopause marks a drastic change for a woman’s life and their health, including their oral health. The complications a woman undergoes can vary, but it can alter your taste, increase sensitivity, cause dry mouth, and bone loss. Dry mouth leaves your teeth vulnerable to tooth decay since not enough saliva is being produced to break down food and reduce acidity by the bacteria in our mouth. When there is a bone loss to our jaw, we run the risk of losing a tooth partly due to the fact our hormone levels decrease. Receding gums can be a sign your bones are losing density. Regular dental visits as you go through menopause can help you keep track of your dental health and maintain it.
As a woman, we endure a lot of hormonal changes throughout our life, making us susceptible to oral problems. During each stage of life, our hormone levels peak, and during our menstrual cycles, it is no different. The best way to maintain a healthy mouth and prevent any dental and oral problems from developing is through good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly. A dentist can better determine whether you have early signs of dental issues to address them.
If you haven’t visited the dentist, call our offices today at 801-747-8000 to make an appointment.
Hormones and Dental Health: What Every Woman Needs to Know. American Dental Association.
Crosstalk Between Hormones and Oral Health in the Mid-Life of Women: A Comprehensive Review. U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health.
Women’s Health and Hormones. WebMd.