The impact of your menstrual cycle on dental healthJuly 20, 2020 3:47 pm
As if it weren’t challenging enough dealing with hormone swings around your menstrual cycle – now being female got a bit more complicated! The fact is, the hormone level changes that happen around your period don’t just affect the way you feel. They can also affect your oral health. However – forewarned is forearmed. It’s better to understand exactly what is going on, in order to help avoid dental problems or to get them treated as soon as possible. Read on for more about your menstrual cycle and what it means for the condition of your teeth and gums.
What impact can hormones have?
Hormones affect the supply of blood to your gums, and the way your body copes with the build-up of plaque on your teeth – caused by everyday bacteria and food detritus in your mouth. So, any changes in hormone levels can really affect your oral health. For example, levels of the hormone progesterone naturally get higher just before your period. This can
cause redness and swelling of your gums. You can also get canker sores (sores inside of your mouth) during your period, bleeding gums, and swollen salivary glands. Without the proper dental hygiene, problems can become worse and lead to permanent damage.
Birth control changes hormone levels by artificially raising the levels of estrogen and progesterone. These can both make gums swollen and sore because they react more strongly to plaque formed on teeth. Taking some forms of birth control also has implications for dental surgery, as they can make the chance of ‘dry socket’ more likely afterward. This is a condition where a blood clot, which forms naturally and helps your mouth heal, either falls out or fails to develop at all. This can be painful and is definitely best avoided! So, let your dentist know if you are on any form of birth control.
Pregnancy is another time when changing hormones have a big impact on teeth and gums. The risk of gum disease and, in particular, severe gum disease known as periodontitis, becomes greater. This is partly due to increased blood flow inside gums – which can make them more likely to become red and irritated. In addition, morning sickness can cause tooth decay because the enamel is more exposed to acid. During pregnancy, it is more important than ever to stay in touch with your dentist and make sure you have a thorough and regular dental routine.
The menopause means that the body produces less of the hormone estrogen. As well as causing problems such as a burning sensation or pain in the mouth, this change in hormone levels can also decrease the flow of saliva, causing a condition called ‘dry mouth’. This means the mouth is less able to clean itself and to neutralise the acid produced by plaque. This can lead to tooth decay or gum disease. The change in hormones brought about during the menopause can also affect bone density, and raise the risk of osteoporosis – a condition where the bones become significantly weaker. This can affect your jaw bones and your teeth. During this time you should look out for receding gums, which can be a symptom of problematic bone loss.
As ever, putting a good dental hygiene routine in place is the key to keeping problems away. Make sure you brush twice a day for two minutes each time, floss regularly, and avoid sugary and processed foods that can ‘feed’ the bad bacteria in your mouth. Every six months, visit your best dentist in Dubai at Drs. Nicolas & Asp Center, and keep them informed of any changes in your health – even if it might not seem relevant. The dentist can help keep your oral health in its best state possible.
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