During your 20s, 30s, and 40s, your period, contraceptives and pregnancy can all affect the health of your teeth and gums.
As your hormone levels fluctuate before, during and after your period, you may experience minor changes in the health of your teeth and gums. Some women experience these symptoms a few days before their period begins:
swollen or bleeding gums (gingivitis)
enlarged saliva glands.
Taking care of your teeth by brushing and flossing daily will help you keep your mouth healthy.
If you take oral contraceptives like the birth control pill, patch or injection (Depo Provera), you may experience similar dental health issues to women who are pregnant. This is because oral contraceptives mimic pregnancy in the body. The most common dental health issue for women taking oral contraceptives is gum disease (gingivitis).
Talk to your dentist if you are taking contraceptives to discuss your risks and ways you can protect your teeth and gums.
If you are pregnant, taking care of your teeth and gums will protect your own health and that of your baby’s. Research shows that keeping your teeth and gums healthy can decrease your risk of:
having a premature delivery
having a low birth weight baby.
As your hormone levels rise during pregnancy, your risk for these dental health conditions increases:
- Pregnancy gingivitis - a condition where bacteria along your gums causes them to become red and swollen. This typically occurs between the third and ninth month of pregnancy. For most women, the condition disappears after birth.
- Tooth acid wear - if you experience moderate to severe morning sickness, the stomach acids in your vomit may wear down your tooth enamel.
- Tooth decay - you may be at a higher risk of developing cavities, especially if you crave and consume foods high in refined sugar and flour.
Having gestational diabetes (pregnancy-induced diabetes) can also increase your risk for tooth decay and gum inflammation and disease.
BC Dental Association
recommends the follow to protect your dental health and the health of your baby:
- Brush your teeth twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste and flossing once a day.
- Rinse your mouth with water and baking soda if you are experiencing morning sickness.
- Visit your dentist for check-ups and cleaning, and talking about your concerns.
Studies show chewing 4 to 9 grams per day of gum containing xylitol or sorbitol while pregnant or breastfeeding can reduce your risk of
dental disease and transferring bacteria from your mouth to your baby.