How Hormones Affect the Oral Health of Women
Oral health involves the health condition of the oral cavity which includes the gums, teeth, throat, and also the jaw. Hormonal fluctuations in women do not only affect the reproductive system of women. It also affects the mood, sex drive, weight, and oral health.
Women experience a sudden occurrence of oral issues as a result of a spike in hormonal levels during certain periods. The conditions of puberty, pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause all affect a woman’s oral health.
It has been reported that hormonal surges are capable of predisposing women to gum disease. The gums can get sensitive and easily react to little irritations as a result of heightened blood flow caused by the hormones estrogen and progesterone. When this happens, the gums get inflamed, swell and bleed. When the hormonal levels are high, women can become increasingly susceptible to bacteria and plaque that may lodge around the gums.
According to Experts from Woodborough House Dental Practice, “women need to observe proper oral hygiene and take good care of their mouth during the four basic states undergone by the female body”. These four body states include:
This is the period of raging hormones. Young girls undergoing puberty are prone to red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Girls are therefore advised at this stage to floss regularly, maintain a healthy diet, brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and rinse the mouth with some mouthwash after meals.
Swollen salivary glands, canker sores, swollen and bleeding gums are often experienced by women undergoing their period as a result of hormones. These usually subside when the menstrual cycle is complete. However, most women often do not experience these symptoms during their period. Taking contraceptives to prevent pregnancy also has the side effect of inflammation of the gums.
The period of pregnancy causes a spike in the body’s hormonal levels. Pregnancy gingivitis is a condition that occurs most times during pregnancy. The gums get tender and sore. This condition usually occurs when the pregnancy is between its second and eight month. It is important to pay a visit to your dentist during pregnancy.
The female body undergoes an irreversible change when menopause occurs. During the period when menopause begins to occur, women often experience increased sensitivity, altered taste, and burning sensations in the mouth. At this time women often get dry mouth. When the mouth is dry, saliva that helps to dilute residual sugar and wash off food particles from the teeth become insufficient. This leads to getting prone to plaque and cavities. Women are advised to steer clear of sugary foods at this period of life and avoid taking caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco. These substances are known to cause teeth discoloration and mouth dryness.
Furthermore, during menopause, there’s a reduction in estrogen. This leads to a predisposition to bone density loss. The loss of bone density affects the teeth in such a way that the gums recede and more teeth area are exposed as they are no longer covered by the gums. Taking adequate calcium and vitamin D supplements is vital at this stage.