Long before full-blown puberty kicks in, our minds and bodies navigate the confusing world of hormones. These invisible chemical messengers affect everything from our moods to our weight.
Over time, you begin to get used to the way estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and other hormones impact your life. But just when you think you have it all figured out, you start to notice one more problem: dental issues.
As a female, hormone surges make you susceptible to gum disease. When hormones are high, blood flow is high, and bacteria and plaque become more irritating to your gums. Gum inflammation can turn into periodontitis, which leads to bone and tooth loss.
So what can you do to minimize damage to your teeth and gums from your hormones? Recognizing there’s a problem puts you on the right path, and these tips can help you get to the “root” of it to control your dental health.
Good Dental Health Matters at Puberty:
If you’re not too far off from puberty, or you have a daughter going through this stage, this is where it all starts. hjkhfjsdfhjYour hormones are as out of whack during this period as they’ll ever be, and it’s common to develop gum problems.
However, since most parents don’t expect to pay attention to oral health at this age, when it does occur, it’s overlooked. The teenager doesn’t know that bleeding gums are a concern, and the parent doesn’t supervise their brushing routine anymore.
Now that you know to be alert for gum inflammation during puberty, you can watch for it or let your teen know to be vigilant. Brushing twice a day, flossing, and visiting the dentist for routine cleanings and exams are crucial here.
Period Hormones Irritate Sensitive Gums:
As you get older, your genetics and oral health habits determine how sensitive your gums become. If you’re prone to swollen and bleeding gums, you may notice they’re more painful than usual during your cycle.
Swollen glands, canker sores, sensitive teeth, and other irritations in your mouth that go away after your period ends are likely hormonal. While you work on balancing your hormones with your doctor, continue to go for routine office visits for preventive care.
If those symptoms don’t go away after your cycle is over, there’s more going on beneath the surface. Talk to your dentist about your symptoms, and increase your dental health regimen.
Birth Control, Pregnancy, and Your Hormones:
When you’re taking birth control, you’re purposely adjusting your hormones. Until you find the right prescription level, you’ll notice side effects like moderate to severe mood swings, anxiety, and dental problems.
The good news is that modern birth control medications have very low levels of progesterone and estrogen in them, and they shouldn’t cause any major issues with your teeth and gums. Let your dentist know if you’re on birth control so they can monitor your mouth for changes.
Pregnancy will, of course, mess with your hormones, too. Chances are, if you’re going to develop gum problems and you’ve never had them before, it’ll be when you’re pregnant.
Pregnancy gingivitis is a common type of gum disease that is reversible. It occurs toward the end of the first trimester and continues through most of the pregnancy. Your gums become sore and tender and bleed easily.
Since your baby’s development uses most of your vitamins and minerals, including calcium, you could also end up with cavities during this time. Visit your dentist for cleanings and exams (but not x-rays) as normal.
Hormone-Induced Anxiety Can Damage Your Teeth:
Birth control and pregnancy can also bring on the unwanted side effect of nighttime anxiety. Stress is hard enough to deal with on a normal day, but when your hormones are out of balance, even small things become difficult to handle.
If you’re pregnant or on birth control, and you notice your teeth are hurting or you have a consistent headache when you wake up, you might be clenching your jaw in your sleep. It’s a natural way for your body to release the extra stress hormone cortisol.
Nighttime anxiety is triggered by various causes, as JS Dental Lab describes in this article. A night guard is a simple, safe, and effective way to reduce the damage to your teeth and gums while you try to get your hormones in balance again so you can get rid of those anxious thoughts.
Hormones have a mind of their own, creating changes in your body that can make you feel out of control. You might not be able to do much about the internal messages they spread. But you can pay attention to when your hormones are more likely to be out of balance and the symptoms you notice during those times.
Watch for changes in your dental health that come monthly or when your hormones are in transition. You’ll catch those issues early and learn how to adjust your oral healthcare routines to reduce problems.