Hormones and Oral Health
A number of hormonal conditions affect the periodontal tissues, including diabetes mellitus and fluctuations in female sex hormones associated with puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Changes in corticosteroid and thyroid hormone homeostasis may also affect the oral cavity. Hormonal changes may directly alter the periodontal tissues or may change the way the host responds to accumulation of local factors such as plaque and calculus. In addition, the presence of certain hormonal conditions may require alterations in dental treatment.
Various hormones can impact the development or progression of gum diseases. Hormonal changes occur throughout a woman's life during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Research data reveal that the fluctuating female hormone levels can impact conditions inside the mouth, allowing bacterial growth, increase blood flow to gingival tissues, and aggravate health issues, such as fetal death, preterm births and bone loss.
An increased level of progesterone is considered to cause gum diseases, especially during second to eighth month of pregnancy. Gums may feel sore, itchy or may even bleed while brushing. Also, pregnancy sometimes may be associated with overgrowth of gum tissue leading to formation of pregnancy epulis/granuloma.
During puberty, there is surge in production of the female sex hormones which can increase the blood flow to the gums and change the way gum tissue reacts to irritants in plaque, causing the gum tissue to become red, tender, swollen, and more likely to bleed during brushing and flossing.
As a result of decline in female hormone levels, women in this phase may experience altered taste, burning sensation of mouth or tongue, dryness of mouth. Also, low estrogen levels may impact the bone density during this period.
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