Hormones play a vital role in our overall health and well-being. In fact, they influence various bodily functions. But did you know that hormonal changes can also affect your oral health? It’s true! Changes in hormone levels can lead to a range of dental issues that may surprise you. As a result, it is crucial to understand how hormones can influence your oral health. That way, you can avoid major dental issues.
The Link Between Hormones and Oral Health
There are several periods during your life when your hormones will naturally change. However, stress and lifestyle changes can also influence your hormone levels.
During puberty, the body undergoes huge hormonal changes. Increased levels of estrogen and progesterone can affect the blood flow to the gums. This can make them more sensitive and prone to inflammation. This can result in swollen, red, and tender gums. Most dentists refer to this condition as gingivitis. It is the first stage of gum disease.
The hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle can also impact oral health. Due to hormonal changes, some women may experience gingivitis a few days before their period. Additionally, hormonal imbalances may lead to the development of canker sores. These are small, painful ulcers that can appear on the inside of the mouth.
Pregnancy is a time of major hormonal changes. These changes can have a large effect on oral health. Pregnancy gingivitis is a common condition during this time. You may notice swollen or tender gums. Also, you may see increased bleeding when flossing. Hormonal changes can also lead to pregnancy tumors, non-cancerous growths that typically appear on the gums.
During menopause, estrogen levels decline, resulting in changes to the oral tissues. Women may experience dry mouth. Unfortunately, this can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Menopause can also contribute to bone loss, including the jawbone. This may affect the stability and health of the teeth.
Dental Issues with Hormonal Changes
There are several dental issues that can occur due to changes in hormones.
Hormonal changes can make the gums more susceptible to inflammation and infection, leading to gum disease. Gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, includes swollen, tender gums that may bleed during brushing or flossing. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a severe form of gum disease. This can cause tooth loss and affect overall oral health.
In addition, hormonal changes can affect saliva production, leading to dry mouth. Saliva plays a crucial role in oral health. It neutralizes acids and prevents tooth decay. When saliva flow is reduced, the risk of tooth decay increases. Those with dry mouth have a higher risk of dental issues like gum disease.
Hormonal imbalances can cause canker sores. These are painful ulcers that can appear on the inside of the mouth. These sores can make eating and speaking painful. However, they typically heal on their own within a week or two.