The Role of Hormones in Women’s Oral Health: Managing Impact Changes In Life

The Role of Hormones in Women’s Oral Health: Managing Impact Changes In Life

Hormonal changes in a woman’s body can make her more susceptible to gum disease, inflammation, and cavities. This means that every time your body undergoes these major changes involving estrogen and progesterone, you need to be extra diligent about your oral health.

The four natural times in a woman’s life when hormonal changes can impact their oral health are puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Using birth control pills can also affect your teeth. Research published in the Journal of Mid-Life Health has shown that during hormone changes, the periodontium (gums and soft tissue structures that support the teeth) experiences an exaggerated inflammatory response to plaque.

Keep reading to learn more about how hormonal changes can impact women at these different times in life.


Hormonal changes during puberty can cause a teen girl’s gums to become inflamed. The gums might become swollen, tender, and red or even start bleeding. Some girls develop canker sores in their mouths, which will resolve on their own in a few days.

Since this is caused by the body overreacting to plaque in the mouth, the best way to prevent it is by being proactive about oral health care. Removing plaque and bacteria daily by brushing and flossing can lessen the inflammation.

Your Period

Most women don’t experience any changes in their oral health during their period or in the days leading up to it. In some women, however, the hormonal influx can cause swollen salivary glands, swollen or bleeding gums, or canker sores. All of these should resolve after your period stops. If the symptoms continue, you should schedule an appointment with us at Hebert Family Dentistry to ensure it’s not a more severe problem like gingivitis. Stay on top of regular brushing and flossing during your period to prevent any symptoms from worsening.

Pregnancy Hormones

Every woman’s hormones go into overdrive when they are pregnant, so this is another time of life when your oral health can go through changes. Many women can develop pregnancy gingivitis between months two and eight of their pregnancy. This is a mild form of gum disease that can cause the gums to become red and sore. Pregnancy gingivitis can be controlled through diligent brushing and flossing every day. Your dentist might even recommend you come in for more frequent cleanings during pregnancy due to the added risks of plaque and gingivitis.


Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when she is most likely to experience symptoms with her oral health. Foods might start to taste differently. Some women experience burning sensations in their mouths or increased sensitivity. All these issues are related to hormonal changes that happen during menopause.

Two potential problems that can happen during menopause that can be more serious are dry mouth and bone loss. The flow of saliva is reduced when a person develops a dry mouth. Saliva is vital in cleaning the teeth and rinsing bacteria off them naturally. Producing less saliva can put you more at risk of developing cavities. Strategies to combat dry mouth include sucking on ice chips or sugar-free candy. Drink plenty of water or caffeine-free drinks to keep your mouth hydrated. Your dentist might also write you a prescription for a more potent toothpaste formula that can fight cavities.

The body produces less estrogen during menopause, which can lead to bone loss. If you lose too much bone in the structure of your jaw, it can lead to tooth loss or tooth decay. Talk with your dentist and doctor about supplementing your diet with calcium and vitamin D to help prevent bone loss.

Using Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are used to contain so much estrogen and progesterone that they could cause an inflammatory response in the gums. Modern birth control pills don’t have enough of these hormones in them for this to be a problem, though. You should still notify your dentist if you are taking birth control pills in case he prescribes any medications that could counteract them.

If you’re going through any of these life changes, Contact Us at Hebert Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment today.