The Impact of Sex Hormones on Oral Health
The Impact of Sex Hormones on Oral Health
We’ve all heard about the importance of testosterone for building muscle, burning fat, and maximising health. But did you know that it also plays a role in oral health? The same apples to female sex hormones on the periodontium, the supporting structure for the teeth. The periodontium shows an exaggerated inflammatory response to plaque modified by female sex hormones during puberty, pregnancy, in women taking oral contraceptives and at the postmenopausal stage.
The oral cavity is one of the first parts of the body to show signs of ageing. This is due to continuous exposure to hormonal and other factors that change your taste buds, induce dryness, and otherwise affect oral hygiene. Although these changes can be attributed to regular age-related conditions like a dry mouth (xerostomia), they are also brought on by other factors, including excessive levels of testosterone or advanced age.
If you’re reading this article, then you already know that testosterone plays a significant role in oral health. If you’re a man, it’s not uncommon to have low levels of testosterone. This hormone can affect your health in many ways, including how you look and feel. But can low testosterone also impact your oral health?
Women don’t get a free kick on this subject as the receptors for estrogen and progesterone have been demonstrated in the gingiva, on the periosteal fibres, scattered fibroblasts of the lamina propria – and also on periodontal ligament fibroblasts and osteoblasts proving the direct action of sex hormones on periodontal tissues. Sex steroid hormones directly and indirectly exert influences on cellular proliferation, differentiation and growth in target tissues. And that’s just the beginning of it!
Visit Your Nearest Health Practice Frequently
Testosterone can lead to an increased risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth cancer. This is because testosterone produces a chemical called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which damages the tissues in your mouth that support your teeth and gums. In addition, DHT causes inflammation and swelling around the teeth, which makes them more susceptible to cavities or fractures than they would otherwise be without this effect on their supporting tissue.
The link Between oral health and male testosterone as scientific advances allow us to continue learning more about the human body, we’re discovering a strong link between oral health and overall wellness. In other words, being lazy about brushing your teeth and skipping the dentist can do a lot more than just give you bad breath. Studies have shown that unhealthy bacteria and inflammation within the mouth can worsen other conditions, including cardiovascular disease and endocarditis, an infection of the outer lining of the heart. If you’re not paying attention to it, then it’s time to get serious about your oral health. One of the most important things you can do for your oral health is to visit the dentist at least once a year and more often if needed. You’ve never been to the dentist before, so this may be tough for you to do. But don’t worry! There are lots of ways to find a great dentist that makes going to the dentist less scary and more fun!
On the female side of the sex hormones vs dental health equation, scientists disclosed this case study but it’s just one of many among the entire range of ages of femalehood from adolescence through to old age:
A 15-year-old girl reported to the Department of Periodontics with a complain of swollen gums, which initiated 2 years back and gradually progressed to the extent that it caused difficulty in mastication and speech. She had no significant family history, medical history, and denied of taking any medication, which could have induced gingival enlargement. When examined intraorally, the gingiva was extensively enlarged, edematous, soft, friable, reddish pink in color with patches of melanin pigmentation and had a shiny surface. Bleeding occurred easily on probing. Moderate deposits of plaque and calculus were observed. Lab investigations for complete blood counts and hormone level for circulating estradiol, stimulating follicular hormone, luteinizing hormone were advised, which came out to be within normal limits with hormone level coinciding with the pubertal age.
At the opposite end of the female life spectrum, menopause triggers a wide range of changes in women’s bodies, and the oral cavity is also affected. The absence of ovarian sex steroids mainly estrogen has been related to a worsening in gingival health. An increase in gingivitis, periodontal disease, and tooth loss has been reported. Patients may also complain of dry mouth because of decreased salivary secretion as well as burning sensation of the mouth and tongue. Taste sensation may change causing frequent complaints of a metallic taste. Some women develop senile atrophic gingivitis in which an abnormal paleness of gingival tissue develops. Other people develop a condition known as postmenopausal gingivostomatitis which is characterised by gingivae that are dry and shiny, bleed easily and range in colour from abnormally pale to erythematous.
A Healthy Moist Mouth & Healthy Hormones
The relationship between oral health, bacteria, and hormones needs further study, but it’s a safe bet that maintaining a high degree of oral hygiene and keeping a close eye on the health of your mouth will lead to better health overall.
Everyone knows that it’s important to keep our mouths clean, but few people do a good job of it. Simply putting toothpaste in your mouth and brushing it around for a few seconds won’t do much to clean your teeth, even if it gives you the illusion of fresh breath. Cleaning your teeth requires actual work, which means thoroughly brushing twice a day for a few minutes each time. It’s also wise to floss at least once a day, but much like brushing, you’ll need to make the effort to do it well. Quickly popping the floss in and out of the spaces between your teeth may loosen some of the debris, but if you take the time to scrape the sides of each tooth and carefully work your way down into the gum line, you’ll see much better results.
Watch Your Diet
The occasional sugary treat is okay, but for the most part, steering clear of sugar will assist your efforts toward a healthy mouth and healthy life. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that fruit is always a healthy choice. While fruit offers many nutrients, it can also be acidic and eat away at the enamel on your teeth. Eat it in moderation and focus on making healthier plant foods like leafy greens your main staples.
Avoid Bad Habits
You probably already know this a thousand-fold, but smoking isn’t good for you. In dental terms, it isn’t good for your mouth and can lead to periodontal disease. If you’re an older man who smokes, it’s not too late to quit. Talk to your doctor about cessation methods and finding support for quitting. There are plenty of resources out there to help.
Getting enough Calcium
Is especially important calcium is an essential mineral that helps build strong bones, teeth, and gums. It also plays a role in reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. But calcium alone isn’t enough to keep your mouth healthy it’s important to get enough of other nutrients as well. These include vitamin D, which helps absorb calcium from food; vitamin C, which activates enzymes that help remove toxins from cells; and fluoride (which reduces cavities), as well as vitamins B6 and A (to strengthen enamel).
Women & Men: Both Vulnerable, Must Be Vigilant
For The Men
It’s now clear there’s a connection between oral health and testosterone levels. Testosterone is a powerful tool for improving oral health, but if you’re not getting it regularly, your oral health may be at risk. So, if you want to stay healthy in your golden years, visit your doctor to have your testosterone levels tested, and visit your dentist for regular checkups and oral-health tips.
Female sex hormones are implicated in the changes in periodontal conditions. The gingival inflammation is exacerbated during puberty, pregnancy and at the postmenopausal stage. The cases presented have shown how much a same hormone at different age and stage shows an exaggerated inflammatory response to the plaque. Strict oral hygiene maintenance is of prime importance for the patient because it is the dental plaque that leads to incidence and prevalence of disease while the level of hormone modifies the response.
Note: All content and media on the Bacchus Marsh Dental House website and social media channels are created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.
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