Hormones, the tiny chemical messengers that tell our bodies what, how, and when to do something, can have a huge impact on women’s oral health, especially during periods of change. Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause all come with mild to massive hormonal changes in the body. These changes have been discovered to be linked to specific oral maladies. During these life stages, it is important for women to know what signs to look for that indicate oral illness.
During puberty, a woman’s body begins producing larger quantities of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. It is theorized that these hormones cause the microenvironment of your mouth to change into one more accommodating for the harmful bacteria that lead to gingivitis. These bacteria take up residence in the pubescent mouth in huge numbers. Signs of gingivitis to watch out for include bleeding or inflamed gums.
In addition to gingivitis, pregnant women have another complication to deal with. The saliva of a pregnant woman can change in two ways. Frequently, pregnant women’s saliva loses its anti-microbial efficacy due to a change in the chemical cocktail within the saliva, leading to a build up of harmful bacteria. Dry mouth is another common problem in which saliva production is reduced. Saliva helps fight cavities, so a persistent dry mouth could lead to unwanted problems. Sipping water frequently helps.
Women going through menopause are more susceptible to gingivitis, dry mouth, and several other oral health issues. One frequent condition, called Burning Mouth Syndrome, has symptoms of burning sensations that are felt in different parts of the mouth. Osteoporosis during menopause could lead to bone loss in teeth and the jaw bone. Signs of oral osteoporosis are loose teeth and dentures that do not fit properly.
If you or other women close to you are going through any of these life changes and are experiencing oral discomfort, please call or have them call us right away to schedule an appointment.