Tag Archives: hormones and oral health

Suffering From Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth (also called xerostomia) is caused by a decrease in the amount of saliva in the mouth when the salivary glands do not work properly. The salivary glands help keep your mouth moist, which helps prevent tooth decay and other oral health problems. Saliva helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria, provides enzymes to help digest food, protects teeth from decay by neutralizing harmful acids and keeps oral tissues healthy. Without saliva you would lose your teeth much faster

Dry mouthWhat causes Dry Mouth?
Prescription and over-the-counter medications are the most common cause. There are over 400 medications that can cause it, but the most common culprits are antihypertensives, antidepressants, painkillers, tranquilizers, diuretics and antihistamines. It can also happen when you are under stress or be a sign of a serious health condition. Other causes include radiation therapy and chemotherapy or diseases such as AIDS, diabetes or Sjogren’s syndrome.

Dry mouth can cause several problems including difficulty in tasting, chewing or swallowing. It also allows plaque to build up on your teeth faster leading to a high risk of cavities. It can also lead to bad breath, ulceration or soreness of the mouth, gum disease and difficulty in wearing dentures.

How do I treat dry mouth?Dry mouth relief
Many treatments can help ease the symptoms of dry mouth, including over-the-counter saliva substitutes. Remember to brush and floss twice a day. You may also chew sugar-free gum. Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine, smoking, acidic juices, dry foods, and overly salty foods. Drink plenty of water and maintain regular dental visits.

Hormones and Women’s Oral Health

What do hormones have to do with a woman’s oral health?5 generations of women

Hormonal changes occur throughout a woman’s life, and with these hormonal changes come changes in oral health.  Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause all can have an effect on a woman’s oral health.  The use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills) can affect a woman’s oral health as well.

When might I notice changes in my oral health?

During puberty, fluctuations in hormones can make gums morTeenage girle susceptible to gingivitis. As a result, the gums may appear red and swollen, and they can bleed.  During menstruation, women who have a tendency to develop canker sores and cold sores may develop a pattern in which these sores recur during every menstrual cycle.

Woman holding newbornDuring pregnancy, gingivitis may develop.  In fact, gingivitis is the most common oral condition associated with being pregnant. Sometimes, however, women will avoid dental checkups for fear that treatment might harm the developing baby.  In truth, untreated gum infections and decayed teeth can put a mother and her baby at risk. Dental infections may be responsible for as much as 5 percent of low-birth-weight pre-term babies.  Pregnant women need routine checkups.  Always tell Dr. Marinic and his team if you are pregnant.

Some women also experience dry mouth while pregnant.  Taking frequentPregnant woman brushing teeth sips of water and chewing sugarless gum or candy can help alleviate this symptom.  Women who experience morning sickness need to brush their teeth more frequently than twice a day.  This will help to prevent stomach acids from contacting the teeth and causing permanent damage to tooth enamel. 

The use of oral contraceptives may cause gum tissue changes in some women.  Women who use birth control pills may also be more prone to healing problems or dry socket after tooth extraction. 

Older woman smilingDuring menopause, women may experience oral changes that include pain, a burning sensation in the oral tissue, changes in taste, and dry mouth.  After menopause, there is an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, which may increase the chance of tooth loss.

How can I maintain good oral health throughout my life?

  • Brush twice daily with toothpaste containing fluoride and floss once daily
  • Have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined by your dentist every six months (or more frequently if recommended by your dentist)
  • Eat a well-balanced diet, and always tell Dr. Marinic and his team about any medications, vitamins, and supplements that you are taking

Ask Dr. Marinic any questions that you have about your oral health.  Together, you and Dr. Marinic can create a treatment and prevention plan that specifically meets your needs.