One of the most significant life decisions women have to make is birth control. Generally, various birth control methods are mostly categorized based on cost, mode of application, and the intensity of side effects.
Although most women know that hormonal birth control techniques have side effects, very few know they can also affect oral health. So, how exactly can hormonal changes impact oral health? And what’s the connection between hormones and oral health?
The Thin Line Between Hormones and Women’s Oral Health
Most contraceptives work by altering estrogen and progesterone balance in the body. These hormonal changes can affect oral health or increase sensitivity to oral health complications.
For instance, hormonal changes can affect the blood supply to gum tissues and inhibit the body’s response to toxic substances.
How Does Hormonal Change Affect Oral Health?
Whenever you use hormonal birth control, you will notice significant changes in the teeth, notably tooth and gum sensitivity.
Progesterone birth control pills can cause bleeding and swelling of gum tissues. If left untreated, chronic gum degeneration can severely destroy the soft tissues and bones around the affected area.
Luckily, modern birth control methods contain lower levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones. As a result, the hormones do not affect oral health as severely as before. Caution is, however, when given to women who already have the early stages of gum complications since continued use of hormonal birth control can worsen any pre-existing condition.
After weeks or months of using birth control, you will notice visibly swollen gums, which may bleed when you brush your teeth or eat irritant foods such as spices.
Birth control can also lead to a decrease in natural estrogen among women, resulting in joint inflammation and osteoarthritis in some women.
Women taking birth control pills may experience a dry socket after having a tooth removed. The condition usually occurs when the blood clots that form after a tooth extraction dislodge from the flesh wound.
Stages When Women Are at High Risk of Oral Health Complications
Although women may develop oral complications due to birth control, there are stages when women are more prone to oral health problems due to hormonal changes.
During puberty, the production of estrogen and progesterone hormones is relatively higher, and blood flow to the gums also increases. As a result, gum tissues may become swollen and bleed when you brush your teeth.
Pregnancy triggers a rapid rise in hormone levels in women. For instance, between 2-8 months during pregnancy, an increase in progesterone may increase your chances of gingivitis, which can cause your gums to swell and bleed.
Significant hormonal changes during a woman’s menstrual cycle often cause oral changes. As a result, most women experience canker sores, swollen gums, bleeding gums, or swollen salivary glands. In some cases, menstrual gingivitis may occur two days before the onset of monthly periods.
As women advance in age, hormonal changes occur, leading to various complications, including oral health. For instance, some women may experience sensitivity to hot or cold beverages, taste changes, and an oral burning sensation.
Moreover, a decline in estrogen levels during menopause can lead to massive bone loss and tissue inflammation around the teeth. Eventually, the gums may recede and expose the teeth to potential decay.
Effective Oral Health Care Habits for Women
The best way for women to maintain oral hygiene when on birth control is to practice good oral care habits.
Some of the vital tips include:
- Brushing your teeth twice daily with a fluoride-based toothpaste. In addition, floss your mouth daily to remove bacteria from hidden places.
- Chew sugar-free gum between meals to stimulate saliva production and eliminate food particles.
- Avoid taking sugary snacks.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Schedule an appointment with your dentist twice every year.
Other Key Factors to Consider
- Duration of use: The longer you use hormonal birth control methods, the higher the risk of oral health complications.
- Medications: Certain drugs may interact with hormonal birth control methods or reduce effectiveness. As such, always share your medical information during hospital visits.
- Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of blood clots while on birth control
Seek Professional Assistance
If you are looking for dental or orthodontic care in Garden Grove, contact our office at (714) 530-8482 for a free consultation.