What are hormones?
One can define hormones as the chemical substances that affect the activity of each and every part of the body often referred to as the target site. Essentially, hormones set out as messengers also controlling and co–ordinating each action throughout the body. Or in easier terms, these are substances that are produced by various parts of your body and have a tremendous effect on bodily processes.
How are hormones and a woman’s Dental health related?
One would be more than stunned to know that hormonal imbalances can cause gum diseases too. Higher the amount of estrogen and progesterone higher will be the blood flow to your gums. Which in turn causes the gums to become more sensitive and “overreact” to anything that could potentially irritate them.
As women have excessive sensitivity to oral health problems due to the unique hormonal changes that they experience. These changes not only influence the blood supply to the gums but also the body’s response to the toxins that result from plaque. As a result of this, women are more prone to the development of oral health problems.
When is a woman at the maximum risk of developing serious dental health complications?
There come such five stages in women’s life when due to high hormonal imbalances they are more than ever prone to developing dental health problems, those are as follows:
During the time of the month when a woman is about or starts menstruating, there is a sudden surge in the production levels of female hormones that are estrogen and progesterone. Women in these times need to take a little extra care and should not neglect any oral hygiene. Yes, this might surprise any woman, but the sad truth is oral hygiene is always neglected. More than ever all dental complications start to show up like Mouth ulcers/Canker Sores, gum diseases, swollen gums etc. They usually subside very soon as your Period ends.
The sudden surge in the production of both the female hormones when you reach a certain age takes a toll on all the bodily functions of a young girl. The sudden gush in the rate of production of these hormones changes the way gums reacts to bacterial plaque. This causes the gums to redden, become tender, swollen, and become more likely to bleed during brushing and flossing.
Birth Control Medications
Birth control has been linked to causing inflammation in women. All the women who take certain oral contraceptives that contain progesterone might experience inflamed gums due to the body’s exaggerated reaction to the toxins produced from plaque. The newer birth control pills have lower concentrations of the hormones, which lessens the inflammatory response of the gums to plaque
The hormone levels are at an all-time high during pregnancy. An increased level of progesterone specifically increases the proneness to bacterial plaque leading to gingivitis and other gum diseases. The occurrence of gingivitis during pregnancy is called pregnancy gingivitis where the gums tend to redden, swell and bleed easily.
Menopause can be considered as one of the biggest changes in a woman’s body and life including altered taste, burning sensations in one’s mouth, decreased salivary flow which leads to dry mouth and increased sensitivity. Dry mouth can result in the development of Gingival disease because of decreased flow of saliva leading to saliva not being available to moisten and cleanse the mouth by neutralizing acids produced by plaque. Dry mouth can also result from many prescription and over-the-counter medicines that are commonly prescribed to older adults. Women are prone to loss of bone density at later stages in life. Receding gums can be a sign of bone loss in the jawbone. Receding gums also expose more of the tooth surface to potential tooth decay.
How can women prevent it?
Following are a few in general oral health tips one can practice in addition to visiting the dentist and getting due treatment and medication.
- Do brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Floss and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash at least once a day.
- Visit your dentist regularly for a professional oral examination
- Always eat a well-balanced diet.
- Avoid sugary or starchy snacks, even soda.
- Ask your dentist if they think you should use an antimicrobial mouth rinse.
- If you happen to have dry mouth, ask your dentist about treatments for this condition, such as artificial saliva.
Hormonal imbalances drastically affect a women’s overall well-being and most certainly their oral health. On average, a woman is more prone to developing dental complications as compared to a man and that is due to the several encounters of increased hormonal events at several stages of their lives. Each and every event leads to an increase in blood flow eventually leading up to increased sensitivity of the gums.