Pregnant women are told time and time again that they need to care for their teeth and gums properly when pregnant, as the hormonal changes that they experience could lead to gum disease.
However, dentists are also warning non-pregnant women who are using birth control that they should also keep a careful eye on their gum health. It is thought that certain birth control pills can actually make women more susceptible to gum disease, as well.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the gums caused by food debris and plaque. There are two main stages – gingivitis and periodontitis. The early gingivitis stage can be reversed, but when left untreated, the more serious forms can cause a breakdown of the connective gum tissue, resulting in tooth loss.
How Can Birth Control Affect Gum Disease?
Some birth control pills are thought to have a negative effect on gum health due to their increase in estrogen levels. This can cause damage to the blood vessels in the gums and can make them more susceptible to bacterial effects. This is similar to what pregnant women will experience, and if you smoke, have a high stress level, or have a genetic predisposition for gum disease, your risk could be even higher.
What Can You Do to Lower Your Risk?
If you are taking oral contraceptives, there are a few things you can do to lower your risk. Make sure you are caring for your teeth and gums properly with frequent brushing and flossing, and schedule your dental exams to check your progress.
You could also use a mouthwash in order to further reduce the bacteria levels in your mouth so that you can avoid the symptoms of gum disease.
If you are concerned that you might be experiencing signs of gum disease, contact our office to set up an appointment.