Hormones and Your Oral Health

We all know that hormones can affect a woman’s mood, but what about their mouth? From puberty to menopause, women experience changes in hormones that put them at risk for oral health complications. Although hormones may be difficult or impossible to control, there are ways you can protect your smile during these times.

What do hormones have to do with the mouth? Hormones increase the blood supply to your gum tissue as well as decrease your body’s response to the toxins that result from plaque buildup. Therefore, an increase in hormone fluctuation often results in a higher risk for periodontal disease and other dental problems. In fact, statistics reveal that 50-75% of all pregnant women develop pregnancy gingivitis. In addition, menopausal women often report a dry mouth. We all need adequate levels of saliva to rinse away harmful acids and sugars from our teeth. A dry mouth can put you at risk for tooth decay.

Hormones affect your mouth in a number of ways. Here are some common oral symptoms that many women experience when they have a change in hormone levels, either during puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy or menopause:

  • Red, tender or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Dry mouth
  • Canker sores or cold sores
  • Changes in taste

The oral complications that occur with changes in hormones need to be taken seriously. Group Health Dental has dentists who are well aware of the specific dental issues that occur for women during times of hormone fluctuation. Always tell your dentist if you are pregnant or experiencing dry mouth, bleeding gums or frequent cold sores as a result of hormones. Maintaining good oral hygiene, eating a well balanced diet and visiting your dentist every six months are especially important. Surging hormones can ruin your mood, but don’t let them ruin your mouth!

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