31 Aug How Your Hormones & Menstrual Cycle Affect Your Dental Health
Have you ever noticed that about three or four days before your period, some parts of your body feel more tender and sensitive?
This sensitivity is because of a buildup of oestrogen and progesterone at this time.
These effects can be numerous and varied throughout your body – including your mouth and gums.
- A buildup of oestrogen and progesterone just before your period can make your mouth and gums feel more sensitive than usual.
- While premenstrual, you may develop a rare form of gingivitis characterised by red, swelling gums and possibly tiny sores appearing on your tongue. Fortunately, this is short-lived and will go away soon after your period has arrived.
- If your gums bleed while you are premenstrual, keep brushing and flossing daily. Don’t be overly concerned about minor bleeding at the time. It’s better to keep flossing!
- Be kind to yourself: if you are extremely sensitive on the days leading up to your period, avoid dental hygiene appointments or dental procedures until a few days after your period.
You may notice that just before your period, your mouth is sore, or that your gums are swelling or bleeding. You could even develop a temporary form of gingivitis, characterised by red, swelling gums and sores appear on the inside of your cheeks or tongue. Fortunately, this is short lived. Your period will arrive and these oral symptoms, along with myriad other premenstrual problems, will disappear.
For other women, though, you may not notice a thing. And if it is you, carry on!
If, however, your gums and mouth react around your period, we advise you to keep brushing and flossing, even if you have bleeding or sore gums. It’s understandable to want to pull back and avoid potential bleeding. But there’s no need to worry – instead, keep brushing and flossing as usual and don’t be too concerned about a little bleeding. If you feel that your problem is severe though, talk to your dentist about your concerns.
Likewise, if your gums and mouth are particularly sensitive around the time of your period, you may want to time your dental hygiene appointment a few days after. Many of us can feel nervous or a little highly strung at this time, so having a hygienist poke around your mouth may not be such an attractive proposition. And, if your gums are sore and predispose to bleeding, it’s best to wait until this time passes to avoid unnecessary pain and irritation. Likewise, if you’re due to have a filling or extraction, booking an appointment just after your period may be the ideal time.
“The pill” and your mouth
If you’re taking oral contraceptives (“the pill”) which contain progesterone, you may find that the increased level progesterone mimics the same type of gingivitis seen in pregnant woman, known as “pregnancy gingivitis”. Usually, this subsides after the first couple of months of going on the pill, but if it doesn’t, remember that progesterone doesn’t always suit everyone, so speak to your doctor. There may be a better solution available for you. Finally, if you’re on the pill, be sure to tell your dentist.