Hormones and Your Oral Health

pregnant woman visits sutherland shire dentist

Did you know that the oral health of women is quite different to men?

Sure, both men and women need to brush twice daily, floss regularly, and get 6 monthly check-ups. But women can experience a spike in dental issues caused by changes in the hormones – and this usually happens in puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.

Those two magic hormones (estrogen and progesterone) do a lot of great things for a woman’s body but they can also exaggerate the way gums react to plaque.

☑️ Monthly Period time

Some women experience swelling or bleeding gums just prior to having a period, and it can also be a time where those dreaded cold sores make an appearance. The good news is these symptoms are typically short-lived and usually go away once a period starts.

If you take oral contraceptives — just be mindful that inflamed gums are a pretty common side-effect so if you have this issue, please let us know so we can help you keep it in check.

In fact its generally a good idea to keep our experienced Jannali dentists informed about any medications you are taking and any changes in your health history.  You never know when it might be important.

☑️ Pregnancy

Have you ever heard the age-old saying ‘Gain a child, lose a tooth?’  It comes from the old wives’ tale about pregnancy being linked to a decline in oral health.

Is there any truth to this expression?  Well yes, sometimes there is…….

Pregnancy hormones affect the way gums react to plaque, so pregnant women are more likely to develop pregnancy gingivitis, when dental plaque builds up on the teeth and irritates the gums. Symptoms include red, inflamed and bleeding gums. In short, a pretty sore and uncomfortable mouth.

Pre-natal care is especially important for the oral health of pregnant women. Getting a dental check-up during pregnancy is not only safe, but very important. 🤰

Morning sickness also impacts the health of a pregnant women’s mouth.

When someone is sick and brings up the contents of their stomach, it is  full of nasty acids that can be quite damaging to teeth enamel. 🤢 So it is really important to rinse your mouth out with water after being sick.   Tempting as it is to rush to the bathroom vanity and give your mouth a good brush straight away, it’s best to wait about 30 minutes before brushing.

Why?  Because if you brush your teeth straight after vomiting you risk brushing off the enamel from your teeth which has become softer from the stomach acid. Use a mouth wash in order to feel a little refreshed while you wait.  If you are vomiting on a regular basis and your teeth are getting exposed to a fair bit of acid it would be a good idea to mention it to us when you visit.

Some pregnant women also experience nausea from strongly flavoured toothpastes. So a simple thing like switching to a neutral-flavored toothpaste may help to keep the nausea under control.

Finally, when you visit us at our Jannali Dental practice, PLEASE tell us if you are pregnant.  That way we can chat to you about some of these potential issues.

☑️ Menopause

Most people know about the common peri-menopause symptoms of hot flushes, loss of bone density, and sleeplessness.  But did you also know that some women can experience a very dry mouth as a result of lower estrogen during menopause, and in some cases women they also suffer discomfort from red and inflamed gums and develop an altered taste sensation.

Women are also more susceptible to periodontitis (gum disease) disease following menopause.  Periodontal disease is often a “silent” disease, and many women do not realise they have it until it reaches an advanced state.

The good news is that gum disease like periodontitis is preventable and 100% treatable. Come and see us if you have ANY of these concerns about your teeth and your gums.  Age, and menopause, is no barrier to having good teeth.

Don’t worry, not every woman experiences these hormonal side effects. But it is important to be aware of any changes that may be happening during these phases of your life and to keep on top of your dental hygiene. 

If you do happen to experience any of these symptoms, or are worried about any issues related to your teeth or gums, please come and talk to us at Jannali Dental Care or give us a call on 9528 9204.

We look after many many families in the Sutherland Shire and we can take good care of you too!