When it comes to oral health, females are the unlucky gender. The female body goes through hormonal shifts that affect the oral health.
Hormones affect our body chemistry, so it is only expected that they should affect the oral tissues as well.
Female hormonal changes affect the gum conditions. These changes are not the cause for bad breath, or gum disease, but they exaggerate an existing condition. Most people have some degree of gingivitis, so when this gets exaggerated by hormonal changes the effects can be very pronounced. The female hormones change the vascularity of the gums, that is, they increase the number of small blood vessels, hence increase the blood flow into the gums.
Increased vascularity means the gums tend to bleed easily, also studies showed that it means there is more chance for bacteria to enter the blood stream via these vessels.
Gum disease means inflamed gums. As part of any inflammation, the cells release a chemical called Prostaglandin. In severe cases of gum disease this chemical might cause labor and premature birth.
These hormonal changes tend to occur throughout life, during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, and by using birth control pills.
Symptoms that occur during these hormonal changes:
– Bleeding gums.
– redness or tenderness in the gums
– Teeth sensitivity.
– Bad breath.
– Flakes of calculus coming off teeth.
– Increased chances for sores and blisters on the lips.
– Developing a tumour. During pregnancy in sever cases, the inflamed gum might forma growth called Pregnancy Tumour. It is benign and not a cancer, but very annoying and will require surgical removal.
– Dry mouth – Xerostomia. This is probably related to the hormone Estrogen which increases after menopause.
– Bone loss. Once again Estrogen might play a part here, making bone less dense, this causes bone loss followed by gum recession. This might lead to root decay, or even loose teeth.
– Altered taste sensation.
– Burning mouth syndrome.
What to do:
– Maintaining healthy gums by following regular oral health is the key.
– Take extra special care during pregnancy, and bare in mind that regular dental exams during pregnancy are not only completely safe, but are highly recommended by both dentists and physicians alike.
– Plan your pregnancy and make sure to include a visit to the dentist and carry out any work needed before concieving.
Extra challenges are placed on oral health for women due to hormonal changes. Make sure to keep your gums healthy by maintaining a diligent care at home, visit us regularly for check ups and cleans, use fluoride rinse.
Articles are written by Dr M Hajarat.