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Throughout her life, women experience significant hormonal changes that can affect their dental health.
Puberty, menstrual cycles, taking oral contraceptives, pregnancy, and menopause alter the levels of female sex hormones. These hormonal variations affect the irrigation of the gingival tissue and the body’s response to toxins that come from dental plaque, favoring the appearance of oral problems such as periodontal diseases. Below, we describe the main effects of hormonal fluctuations on oral health at different stages of a woman’s life.
The hormonal changes that take place in this developmental period predispose adolescents to periodontal conditions such as gingivitis. Increased levels of estrogen and progesterone can increase gum irrigation and modify the response of gingival tissue to dental plaque, promoting redness and inflammation of the gums, and gingival bleeding during brushing and interdental cleaning.
The removal of plaque and dental calculus by a professional and improvement in oral hygiene usually quickly improve cases of moderate gingivitis of this stage.
Variations in the levels of sex hormones that occur during a woman’s menstrual cycle also alter oral health, producing redness, swelling and bleeding of the gums, inflammation of the salivary glands and the development of canker sores during ovulation and phase premenstrual. In this case, sex hormones would have a potentiating effect on a pre-existing gingival inflammation, so that gingivitis associated with the menstrual cycle does not occur in women with good periodontal health, but only in those who suffer from gingivitis.
Taking oral contraceptives
Most of the current oral contraceptives contain an estrogen and a progestin. The combination of both hormones causes an increase in blood flow to the gum tissue and a greater susceptibility of the gums to irritation and inflammation. On the other hand, oral contraceptives favor the development of microorganisms responsible for gingivitis and periodontitis, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans and different species of the genus Candida. Thus, oral contraceptive users have a greater risk of suffering periodontal diseases and, therefore, it is essential that they adopt strict measures to maintain correct oral hygiene and thus prevent or reduce the intensity of these pathologies.
Similar to what happens with taking oral contraceptives, the high levels of sex hormones at this stage increase the risk of an overgrowth of periodontopathogenic bacteria in the oral cavity, an increase in vascular permeability in the gingival tissues and, consequently, inflammation of the periodontal tissue.
The prevalence of pregnancy gingivitis is 60-75%, while periodontitis affects approximately 25% of pregnant women. These periodontal diseases generally take place between the second and the eighth month of gestation. It is essential that pregnant women receive adequate dental care, since, among other complications, periodontal diseases can lead to premature delivery or a child with low birth weight. That is why Dr. Francis Silvestre, Specialist in Oral Implantology and Oral Surgery, recommends that all pregnant women attend the dental consultation after finishing the first trimester of pregnancy to prevent the so-called Gingivitis of pregnancy due to hormonal causes and a possible tumor of the gum pregnancy, also called Pyogenic Granuloma, which is a very common benign lesion if there is carelessness on the part of the mother and the professional.
During menopause, there is a decrease in estrogen levels that has also been related to the alteration of oral health. These hormonal changes are associated with alterations in the sense of taste, the burning sensation in the mouth and xerostomia, which is the lack of salivation and they occur frequently in this period. Furthermore, these hormonal variations are also related to gingival inflammation and osteoporosis, which can aggravate the severity of a pre-existing periodontitis.
To prevent periodontal diseases during these stages of hormonal changes, it is important that women visit the dentist regularly and adopt adequate habits to maintain good oral hygiene, concludes Dr. Silvestre President of the Dental Integral group. In cases where hormonal variations could increase the risk of periodontal disease, the use of mouthwashes with antiseptics that can guarantee maximum efficacy will be recommended. In this sense, mouthwashes formulated based on the combination of two antiseptics such as chlorhexidine and cetylpyridine chloride have shown superior efficacy to the use of chlorhexidine alone due to its synergistic action on dental plaque. Likewise, as a preventive measure during pregnancy, it is recommended that the oral hygiene of pregnant women includes the use of toothpastes and mouthwashes with antiseptics for daily use, such as cetylpyridine, an ingredient that has proven to be effective and safe during pregnancy. .
“At Dental Integral in La Marina Casa de Campo we are at your service to provide you with high information if you are going through any of the situations mentioned above and help you to pass this stage of your life in the most satisfactory and pleasant way,” points out the Dra. Silvestre.
[* Information courtesy of Dental Integral]