From Puberty to Menopause: What Hormones Do to Your Oral Health

By: Guest Author

Published: December 12, 2018

Written by Sharon Williams- Guest Contributor

The different stages of your life – puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause are all governed by female hormones. These play a crucial regulatory role in reproduction, growth and development of your body. But did you know that they also impact the development and maintenance of your oral health? Also, the hormonal imbalances at various stages of your life can increase your risk of acquiring oral diseases.

Let’s take a look at the different stages of your life where hormonal fluctuations can also impact your oral health:

Puberty – This phase marks the beginning of your maturation into adulthood. The production of sex hormones brings about internal and external changes in your body. The ovaries begin the cyclical production of estrogen and progesterone. It has been proved through studies that there is often an increase in gum inflammation even in absence of increased plaque levels during puberty. Generally, the presence of high levels of plaque accumulation is responsible for inflamed gums. Besides, puberty has also been associated with an increase in the number of bacteria which cause gums to bleed easily.

Menstruation – The hormone progesterone peaks during the menstrual cycle at around 10 days and drops prior to menstruation. This hormone has been linked with production of altered collagen in the gums and also is also found to be responsible for an increase in the inflammatory cells. Hence, it is common to experience bleeding and swollen gums and a mild increase in temporary loosening of teeth.

Pregnancy – During this phase some of the most obvious hormone related oral alterations occur. For instance, pregnancy gingivitis is a commonly occurring oral condition with a range of 30% to 100% of all pregnant women experiencing this form of gingivitis. The intensity of this oral condition can range from minor inflammation to severe gum overgrowth – also known as gingival hyperplasia. Pain and bleeding can also occur. Gum inflammation generally begins during the second month of pregnancy. Its severity can increase through the rest of the pregnancy until there is an abrupt decrease in the sex hormone secretion. There are also known incidences of pyogenic granulomas, also known as ‘pregnancy tumor’ which normally affect the gums but can also appear on palate, cheeks, tongue and lips. Besides, an increased level of progesterone and estrogen can also cause an increase in harmful bacteria linked with gum diseases. You can consider orthodontic treatment even during your pregnancy. Treatments such as braces or Invisalign are absolutely safe, given that all the x-rays and scans are completed before conception.

Menopause – This stage is associated with a decrease in the estrogen hormone. This hormonal change often causes osteoporosis – a condition characterized by low bone mass. As a result of this you become prone to fracture risk. This also has a profound impact on the jaw bone. Also, faster bone loss which is a side effect of gum diseases has also known to cause an increased risk of tooth loss. This means that menopause may also affect the severity of a pre-existing disease. If your periodontal health is good, menopause does not become a risk factor for you.

Even post-menopausal women have been reported to experience oral discomfort besides a burning sensation, dryness and a foul taste in the mouth. Whereas, those of them who are on hormone replacement therapy are known to experience reduced incidences of tooth loss and bleeding gums.

Given the impact of hormonal changes during different phases of life as listed above, it is important that you maintain a good oral hygiene routine and regularly visit your dentist.

Author Bio

Sharon William’s day job is to handle digital marketing for Koch Orthodontics in Lawrenceville, GA. With a flair for creating compelling content that clears the clutter and connects with the audience in an instant, she writes about dental topics to educate and help her readers. She truly believes that a genuine smile can win a million hearts and talks to her readers about improving their smiles and overall dental health, as well as enhancing their overall lifestyle. In her free time, she likes to organize small meets in her neighborhood where she brings people together to discuss various topics that she writes about.

The views expressed herein this article, written by a guest contributor, do not necessarily represent those of the Red Hot Mamas organization. The content is for informational purposes and should not substitute the advice of your doctor.