Women’s hormones and oral health – what’s the connection? (via @IndiacomHealth)

24 Jul



Women experience hormonal changes throughout their life – from puberty to menopause. But did you know that these hormonal changes can affect their gums too?
The fluctuating hormonal levels in the body affect the blood supply to the gum tissue and also the body’s response to the toxins produced by the bacteria in the plaque, leading to gum disease.

When a girl reaches menarche or puberty, there is an increase in the female hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) which causes an increased blood flow to the gums. The response of the gums to irritants in the plaque and calculus also becomes more exaggerated. The irritants which would otherwise elicit a comparatively mild response may now cause red, swollen gums that bleed easily.

Menstrual cycle 
Generally, menstrual cycle does not cause notable gum changes. But some women may experience gum problems due to hormonal imbalances or ovarian dysfunction. They may have bleeding gums or swollen, tense feeling in the gums a day or two before their period. These symptoms subside once menstruation begins. (Read: Tips to deal with menstrual cramps)

There is an old wives’ tale – gain a child, lose a tooth. There may after all be some truth to it. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that can make a woman’s gums more sensitive to the bacteria in plaque and cause pregnancy gingivitis, a condition which manifests as swollen, red gums that bleed during flossing or brushing. If it is not treated, your teeth could be at stake. Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease wherein the surrounding bone and supporting structure of the teeth get infected and eventually destroyed. (Read: Stages of gum diseases)

Pyogenic granuloma, commonly called pregnancy tumour, are the harmless red swellings or lumps that sometimes form on inflamed gum tissue along the gum line. But they may bleed and cause discomfort while eating and speaking.

Rarely, some women may experience a condition called menopausal gingivostomatitis during menopause or in the post-menopausal period. The gums may be red, dry and shiny, and bleed easily. There may be burning sensations in the mouth with greater sensitivity to hot and cold foods, abnormal taste sensations and dry mouth. Menopause also causes a decline in oestrogen which increases the risk for bone loss. When the jaw bones are affected, the stability and retention of teeth may be affected. (Read: Dealing with its sign and symptoms)

Oral contraceptive pills
Previously available oral contraceptives had higher levels of hormones in them which aggravated gum inflammation and increased tendency toward gum bleeding. Currently available oral contraceptives have lower concentrations of hormones and therefore probably not as harmful to the gums. (Read: Can oral contraceptive pills lower a woman’s libido?)


Source: http://health.india.com/oral-health/women’s-hormones-and-oral-health-–-what’s-the-connection/

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