Hormone Changes and Gum Health

Hormone changes and gum healthDid you know that hormone changes as a result of pregnancy and menopause could have a direct impact on a woman’s oral health? When hormone changes occur, it affects blood flow to the gums and the body’s response to unhealthy bacteria and plaque build-up. This is why we place such importance on attending routine dental cleanings and examinations at Smile Solutions by Emmi Dental Associates in Wilmington, DE.

Visiting the dentist every six months reveals immediate oral health changes so dental professionals can provide the necessary treatments to prevent oral health concerns, such as gum disease and tooth decay. When gum disease is left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and costly restorative dentistry procedures. If you are currently experiencing hormone changes and gum health issues, we recommend scheduling a consultation as soon as possible.

What Factors Contribute to Hormonal Changes?

Below are the five common stages that a woman goes through when hormone levels shift and increase your susceptibility for oral health concerns:

  • Puberty: During this stage, estrogen and progesterone surge and increase blood flow to the gums. Individuals may notice dental sensitivity, as well as red and swollen gums that bleed when brushing and flossing.
  • Monthly Cycle: During this five- to seven-day cycle each month, progesterone increases and may cause gums to appear red and swollen. Women are more likely to develop canker sores and the initial stages of gingivitis. Although side effects may reduce after menstruation, following a regimented oral health program during this time, followed by gum disease preventative measures can protect your oral health.
  • Birth Control Pills: Certain oral contraceptives that contain a high dosage of progesterone can affect blood flow to your gums and aggravate surrounding tissues. Monitoring your gums while taking oral contraceptives is key to your long-term oral and physical health.
  • Pregnancy: When a woman becomes pregnant, it is not uncommon for her to experience pregnancy gingivitis throughout the entire gestation period due to the rapid changes in hormones. Gums may appear red and swollen and bleed when brushing and flossing. Talking to your dental care professional about how to care for your teeth and gums throughout your pregnancy will not only protect your health, but the health of your baby.
  • Menopause: Age, medication, and the combination of reduced estrogen during this stage in a woman’s life can increase her chances for developing severe gum disease. It is not uncommon to experience dry mouth, abnormal looking gums, and dental sensitivity during this stage. Talking to your gynecologist about hormone therapy, in addition to following a regimented oral hygiene program can prevent tooth loss, bone degeneration, and facial structural changes.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

Visiting the dentist biannually for a professional cleaning and examination can help prevent the early stages of gum disease. When caught early, side effects are easily managed and often reversible. In addition, we also recommend:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day
  • Flossing daily
  • Replacing tooth brushes every three to four months
  • Rinsing daily with an antibacterial mouthwash
  • Eating a healthy diet and avoiding sugary, acidic, and starchy foods
  • Asking your dentist about other recommendations and preventative treatments to protect your oral health

Schedule Your Consultation

If you are concerned you may have the beginning stages of gum disease as a result of shifts in your hormones, contact us today online or by calling (302) 999-8113 to schedule a dental cleaning and exam with one of our trusted dentists.