- Our mouths change as we enter adulthood. Some changes are preventable with regular dental appointments and healthy choices.
- Hormonal changes in life can affect oral health; some changes may not be preventable, but their effects can be managed.
- Regardless of your gender, it’s important to keep regular dental appointments.
It’s important to care for our oral health, especially as we age. Healthy maintenance and routine dental appointments are the best way to prevent oral diseases into adulthood. Here are some startling facts:
- The risk of developing oral cancer increases with age and is greatest after 45 years of age (Canadian Cancer Society).
- Smoking or chewing tobacco can double your risk for gum disease or oral cancer.
- Dry mouth related to heart medications or menopause can increase your risk of tooth decay.
Hormones and Oral Health
Our body’s natural hormones and hormonal changes can all affect our oral health. Although some hormone fluctuations can’t be avoided, a good oral health routine — brushing, flossing and regular dental appointments — can help manage their effects.
Menstrual cycle hormones may cause bright red swollen gums, swollen salivary glands, development of canker sores, or bleeding gums. This usually occurs a day or two before the start of the period and clears up shortly after the period has started.
Pregnancy can increase your risk of getting gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease, in the second to eighth month of pregnancy. Your dentist may recommend more frequent professional cleanings during your second or early third trimester to help reduce the chance of developing gingivitis.
Hormonal changes during menopause can trigger:
- altered taste
- burning sensation in the mouth
- more sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages
- a decreased salivary flow that can result in dry mouth
Your dentist can recommend treatments to help ease your symptoms.
It’s never too late!
Learn how to decrease your risk of gum disease.