Contraceptives and Gum Disease
Hormonal birth control can help women take control of their reproductive choices, but it may also increase the risk of gum disease, according to some studies. Female hormones are known to cause gums to become inflamed, swollen and irritated, and the tissues may bleed easily. This is most likely to occur during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Studies indicate the contraceptives may also trigger these symptoms, which can lead to periodontitis.
According to the study, which included data gleaned from National Health and Nutrition Examination surveys from 1999 to 2004, women who used injectable contraceptives had larger periodontal pockets and greater deterioration of the periodontal ligament. Their risk of developing gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, was nearly 75 percent higher than the risks of women who were not using hormonal contraceptives.
This link does not mean that you need to change your birth control if it is currently working for you. However, you may need to take steps to reduce your risk as much as possible. Avoiding birth control is also not necessarily an option for many women. Female hormones, which are believed to be behind the increased risk, fluctuate from month to month and at other points in life, and they alone could trigger gum problems. Good dental care is the best way to manage this risk. Do not smoke. Smoking can damage your teeth, gums and general health. Eat a balanced diet, and exercise regularly. Brush after meals, floss daily and visit us at least twice a year for cleanings and checkups.
Call us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Frame, our Santa Clara dentist.