Life of a woman encompasses various stages – from puberty to menstruation to pregnancy to menopause – and all these stages are governed by female hormones. These hormones play an essential role in the growth, development, and reproduction of the female body. They also are important in the maintenance and development of oral health. Any imbalance in the hormones during the various stages of a woman’s life can make her susceptible to different oral diseases.
Let’s take a look at the different stages of a woman’s life and see how hormonal fluctuations impact her oral health:
Stage 1: Puberty – This phase marks the beginning of a girl transitioning into adulthood. The hormones produced during this phase bring about various internal and external changes in the body. The ovaries begin to produce estrogen and progesterone.
Studies have proved that during this phase, there is an increase in gum inflammation even in the absence of plaque. Puberty is also found to be responsible for the increase in the number of bacteria, resulting in easy bleeding of the gums.
Stage 2: Menstruation – During the menstrual cycle, the level of hormone progesterone rises for 10 days and later drops prior to menstruation. This hormone is known to be associated with the altered production of collagen in the gums. It is also known to be responsible for the increase in inflammatory cells. So, during the menstrual cycle, it is common for the gums to swell and bleed, and there could also be a temporary loosening of teeth.
Stage 3: Pregnancy – This is the time where the most hormone-related oral alterations take place. Pregnancy gingivitis is a common oral condition occurring in 30% to 100% of pregnant women. This type of gingivitis can be mild (causing minor inflammation) or severe (causing gum overgrowth called gingival hyperplasia). Pain and bleeding is a common occurrence in this phase.
Usually, in the second month of pregnancy, gums begin to inflame, and this condition can grow severe throughout the pregnancy until there is a sharp decrease in the secretion of the sex hormones. Women in their pregnancy can also experience pyogenic granulomas (also known as pregnancy tumors). These granulomas not only affect the gums but also appear on the lips, tongue, palate, and cheeks. The increase in the levels of progesterone and estrogen is known to cause an increase in harmful bacteria linked with gum diseases.
Stage 4: Menopause – This stage signifies the decrease in the level of estrogen hormone. This hormonal change affects the bone mass and can cause osteoporosis in women. This hormonal change also has a massive effect on the jaw bone. If gum disease is pre-existing, there will be faster jaw bone loss, causing an increased risk of tooth loss. However, if the periodontal health of the woman is good, menopause does not become a risk factor for her.
Women in their post-menopausal stage also experience oral discomfort – such as foul taste, dryness, and burning sensation in their mouth. However, post-menopausal women undergoing hormone replacement therapy are known to have reduced incidences of bleeding gums and tooth loss.
Hormones have a profound effect on the oral health of women going through the various stages of life. Therefore, it is important for every woman, irrespective of where she is in her lifecycle, to take care of her oral hygiene and visit her dentist for regular checkups.
Sharon William’s day job is to handle digital marketing for Koch Orthodontics in Loganville, GA. With a flair for creating compelling content that clears the clutter and connects with the audience in an instant, she writes about dental topics to educate and help her readers. She truly believes that a genuine smile can win a million hearts and talks to her readers about improving their smiles and overall dental health, as well as enhancing their overall lifestyle. In her free time, she likes to organize small meets in her neighborhood where she brings people together to discuss various topics that she writes about.