How Can Periods Impact Your Oral Health?

Excruciating migraines, strange food cravings, awful cramps, and crazy mood swings? Yep - it's official: it's that time of the month.

Boyfriends/husbands - we know this doesn't directly apply to you - but odds are you're usually called on to go source emergency chocolate/provide extra it's worth having a read to understand what bae might be going through.

How Can Periods Impact Your Oral Health?

Due to the hormonal changes (particularly the increase in progesterone) that occur during the menstrual cycle, some women also experience oral changes that can include bright red swollen gums, swollen salivary glands, development of canker sores, or bleeding gums. Menstruation gingivitis usually occurs a day or two before the start of the period and clears up shortly after the period has started.

women lying down and holding her lower stomach

What does the data say on the connection between the menstrual cycle & oral health? 

One hundred premenopausal women participated in a study and were divided into two groups: group I consisted of 50 subjects with clinically healthy gums (gingiva), and group II consisted of 50 subjects with chronic gingivitis (gum inflammation). 

Women with clinically healthy gums exhibited negligible changes throughout the menstrual cycle, whereas women with gingivitis showed aggravated inflammation during ovulation and pre-menstruation as compared to menstruation. After treating gingivitis, the next menstrual cycle following 4 weeks after periodontal therapy was monitored, and no periodontal changes were detected.

Toothaches and Tooth Sensitivity 

During your period you might be more inclined to pick up a chocolate bar or a few... This may cause tooth sensitivity or aches and pains.

Indulging in sugary foods without routinely cleaning your teeth, could lead to extra plaque along our gums, which irritate our teeth if there’s any gum recession!

Using a tooth sensitivity toothpaste might be a good call!

dentist checking patients molar teeth 

Canker Sores and Ulcers 

Ulcers! Some women get aphthous ulcers or canker sores during their period, which generally happens before or during their menstrual cycle.

We may see ulcers surface when we are overwhelmed or beginning to feel sick. It is is also important to note that, salty or acidic foods can also cause ulcers too. Your food choices may also be the cause for any ulcers if your diet typically changes during your period. 

Dry Mouth

If you take birth control pills to suppress your period pain this could be the reason for you experiencing a dry mouth.

Birth control pills frequently cause 'dry mouth' or 'xerostomia'. Different symptoms are common when your body is transitioning between weeks of being "on" and "off" the pill for your period.

Dry mouth is also common symptom of menopause and a sign your body is going to undergo a big hormonal change.

Top Tips and Takeaways

Oral side effects during your period is normal! But always remember, to stay on top of your daily dental routine.

  • Invest in a good toothbrush (use our electric toothbrushes to stay on top of your oral health!)
  • Brush your teeth twice a day - day and night.
  • Start flossing or using interdental brushing.
  • Avoid too much sugary and acidic foods.
  • Experiencing sensitive teeth? Use a sensitive toothpaste.
  • Schedule cleanings with your dentist - at least twice a year.

When do I see a dentist?

If any of these oral side effects persist after your period and on a continual basis, please seek advice from your dentist of a professional. (And remember Smileright has emergency appointments and is always taking on new patients!)

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