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Hormones and Your Mouth: Puberty & Menstrual Cycles

As a woman, you are used to your body’s roller coaster and the way it changes constantly. You have lists of what happens to your body at given times of the month. Is your mouth on any of those lists? Your hormone levels have significant effects on your mouth, too.

You go through so many changes in your lifetime, and your mouth can reflect those changes. Each stage of life brings a fresh surge of hormones. Here is a breakdown of how puberty and menstrual cycles can affect your oral health.


With raging levels of hormones come changes in every aspect of a young woman’s body. These hormones can especially affect the gums, leaving them swollen, red, and bleeding. Preventing plaque buildup in this stage is important. Women (of all ages) should be brushing twice daily to prevent the plaque that inflames their gums. Not doing so can make this inflammation worse and even lead to enlargement of the gums.

In addition to gum concerns, raging hormones can cause canker sores. These are painful sores that develop in the soft tissues of your mouth or on your gums. These usually last a week or two before healing on their own.

Menstrual Cycles

Maybe you are noticing changes in your mouth in the days before your period strikes, and maybe you are not. Every woman’s body reacts differently in that particular week. Consider the following list of potential symptoms:

  • Swollen gums.
  • Bleeding gums.
  • Canker sores.
  • Swollen salivary glands.

If you are experiencing these in the days leading up to your period and the symptoms go away a few days after your period finishes, your cycle is most likely the cause. If you are experiencing symptoms that will not go away, see us for help.

Whether you are on your period or not, keep up with your oral hygiene routines as well as your regular cleanings. Also, if oral issues are part of your period symptoms, schedule any cleanings or exams for the week after your cycle.

If You Are on Birth Control

Make sure your dentist knows that you are on birth control. From time to time, your dentist may write a prescription for your treatment. Some medications may make your birth control less effective or cause a reaction.

Another concern is a painful complication from tooth extraction called dry socket. Women on birth control are significantly more at risk for this complication than women who are not. If you require an extraction and are on birth control, talk to your dentist ahead of time. Your dentist will be able to help you.

While womanhood proves to be a roller coaster, your oral health should not be. Let your dentist help you maintain oral health, so you can smile for the entire ride.

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