Hormones affect your body in many ways, including your mood, body temperature, sleep cycles, sex drive, weight, and reproduction. You might find it surprising to learn that your hormones also affect your dental health.
At Full Circle Dental Care in Del City, Oklahoma, dentist Samuel Sigmon, DDS, and his team understand how your hormones can affect your gums. That’s why we address it.
How hormones impact your gum health
When you produce higher levels of estrogen and progesterone, more blood flows to your gums, which makes them more vulnerable to having issues. For example, they can swell, become irritated, and display sensitivity to plaque and bacteria.
By noticing when your hormones change, you can pay extra attention to your mouth during those times to protect yourself from gum disease.
Causes of hormone changes
Your hormones change at different stages of your life, including:
When you transition from being a child to a teenager, you develop an increase in sex hormones that can cause several physical changes, such as growing breasts, starting your period, becoming moody, and developing acne.
This time in your life can cause an overreaction to plaque, which can cause your gums to swell. You might also find yourself more prone to canker sores.
When you start your period
During your period, you can experience swollen salivary glands, swollen gums, and bleeding gums. If you do, you can blame these symptoms on hormones. Typically, your symptoms subside when you finish your menstrual cycle.
When taking birth control prescriptions
In the past, birth control had much higher levels of estrogen and progesterone, but today, the levels have been lowered and shouldn’t cause any issues with your gums. However, since you’re taking synthetic hormones, you could still experience tenderness in your gums.
You also want to keep our team knowledgeable about your current medical information. For example, if our team needs to prescribe a medication for you, it could decrease the effectiveness of your birth control.
When you’re pregnant
Pregnancy can cause you to have gingivitis, causing your gums to be red and sore. Women tend to be more prone to the disease between two and eight months pregnant.
When going through menopause
As you go through menopause, you might recognize a burning sensation in your mouth caused by increased sensitivity. You can also experience dry mouth, which can cause issues for your teeth. Why? Because saliva acts like a rinsing agent in your mouth, taking bacteria off of your teeth. When you have dry mouth, you become more susceptible to cavities.
Bone loss can happen, as well. If you notice receding gums, your teeth become more exposed, putting you more at risk for tooth decay.
Protecting your gums
Although these stages of life can be daunting for your gums, you can prevent and avoid gum health issues.
To remove bacteria and plaque from your teeth, practice healthy oral hygiene habits. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristle brush, and floss your teeth at least once a day.
As you age, get the right amount of calcium and vitamin D, don’t smoke, and limit your alcohol. We also encourage you to keep your routine visits with us to accurately monitor your oral health.
If you experience hormone changes that could affect your gums, schedule an evaluation with our team. Contact Full Circle Dental Care by phone, or schedule a consultation through our online booking system.