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Hormones and Women's Oral Health

Hormones and Women's Oral Health

I was reading an article in this month’s “The Explorer” magazine that highlighted some important information regarding the fact that our body’s hormones can significantly how we reach to plaque that forms on our teeth and tongue as well as the blood supply to our gums. Women are especially vulnerable to these factors since they typically experience much more variation in hormone levels as compared to men. Those times include puberty, certain times during their monthly menstrual cycle, when birth control pills are taken, if they are pregnant or peri-menopausal. When estrogen and progesterone levels increase, there is an increase in blood flow to the gums and this will change how they react to plaque. The gums will become swollen and tender and will be much more likely to bleed. This is most evident during puberty. A term that was new to me was “menstruation gingivitis” which can occur one to two days before menses yet disappear shortly after the period has stated. The changes in progesterone will result in red and swollen gums when plaque is present. This happens when birth control pills are taken, for the very same reason, since many of the active pills contain progesterone. When a woman is pregnant, the developing incubus will cause hormone levels to fluctuate and result in pregnancy gingivitis. You can refer back to my June 2013 blog which contains a link that will give you more information on this topic. An important fact to not in all of this is that proper brushing and flossing can help reverse all of these effects. If you take away the plaque (and thereby the bacterial toxin effects) you can lessen the effects of hormones on the health of the gums.

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