For women around the world, hormonal changes can cause big disruptions in daily life. From the menstrual cycle to pregnancy and menopause, we know the female body changes a lot. What we may not realize, however, is that these hormonal changes often affect a woman’s oral health, too. Here’s how.
Even the healthiest mouth can experience hormonal changes during menstruation. Gums can become tender and swollen and be more prone to bleeding than they are during the rest of the cycle. Though not everyone experiences this, it is normal. If you experience this type of sensitivity when brushing, don’t change your routine. Your gums should return to normal once your hormones return to normal at the end of your period.
Pregnancy is another time the female body experiences major changes. For some women, those changes include an annoying condition called pregnancy gingivitis. Again, even the healthiest mouth can get pregnancy gingivitis, thanks to hormonal changes in the body. There is no special treatment required for pregnancy gingivitis – just keep brushing and flossing as you normally do. The good news about pregnancy gingivitis is that it should subside post-delivery, once your hormone levels return to normal.
It is important to note that if you experience morning sickness during pregnancy it’s imperative that you take extra care of your teeth. The acids from your stomach can wear away the enamel of your teeth, so be sure to rinse your mouth out very well with water immediately after vomiting. It may seem like a good idea to brush your teeth, but if you can, wait at least 30 minutes for the enamel on your teeth to re-harden before brushing. Brushing softened enamel can permanently scratch and damage it.
If you are going through menopause, you probably already know how important it is to stay hydrated. This can not only help replenish fluids to your body, but it also keeps dry mouth away. Dry mouth can increase your risk of developing cavities because it allows harmful bacteria to thrive in the mouth.
Another common problem with menopause and oral health is a change in how things taste. This is due to the change in estrogen levels. Women may experience a metallic taste in their mouth (called dysgeusia). This will usually go away once the estrogen levels finish their descent.
For any questions or concerns about your oral health, please contact Dr. George at 724-220-2347.