Impact of Hormonal Changes on the Mouth in Huntingdon County

Most women have never considered the thought that hormonal changes that they experience through their lives do influence their gums and oral health. As men and women have differences in their biological framework, women have different oral health needs based on their physiology. This is based on the research done by Dr. Peter Trainor, president of the Ontario Dental Association. Being a woman is extraordinary, fun, and fulfilling, but it’s not always easy. A woman’s body goes through so many changes that good oral hygiene is especially important. These changes are mostly contributed to fluctuating hormone levels throughout different stages in a woman’s life such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. The use of oral contraceptives will contribute to these changes as well.

Increases in the hormones progesterone and estrogen may result in increased blood circulation to the gums. Levels of these hormones typically increase at puberty, menstruation cycle, pregnancy, and women taking hormonal contraceptives (birth control pill). Increased circulation to the gums may make the gums more sensitive to irritants in the mouth, such as plaque. Plaque is the soft and sticky substance that accumulates on the teeth from food debris and bacteria. The bacteria in the plaque cause the infection in the gums, although when there is an increase in hormone levels this intensifies the problem. The heightened sensitivity that may occur when hormone levels are high only intensifies a preexisting problem of poor plaque control and/or diet. The gums may be red, swollen, bleeding, and or tender.

Pregnancy gingivitis is most common in the first trimester. This is due to the body adjusting to changing and increased hormone levels. Since oral contraceptives contain estrogen and progesterone, they cause the body to imitate pregnancy. The most obvious oral changes for many women may occur during menopause. Some women report experiencing discomfort, pain and occasional burning in their mouth and gums. Experiencing altered taste perceptions with salty, peppery, and/or sour foods is also common during this time of a woman’s life.

The symptoms of hormonal changes that occur in the mouth can be minimizes or diminished with good oral hygiene and a well-balanced diet. Women should talk to their dentists about any changes in their lifestyle and overall health, as well as specific oral health symptoms. In particular, dentists need to know about any modifications to medications, including hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills or other hormonal contraceptives. Regular dental check-ups are vital to good oral health; ask your dentist or hygienist any questions you have, because they can help.

For more information please contact Heather Metzler RDH at Smiles for Life, Dr. Jeffery Hartman 814-643-9414

For more questions or concerns about hormonal changes please contact us or visit our website.  Smiles for Life Total Health Dentistry, office of Dr Jeffery Hartman at 814-643-9414, and our staff will be pleased to assist your needs.



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