You probably know that birth control can affect weight and mood, but were you aware that it also affects oral health? Before starting this new drug, learn about the link between oral health and birth control.
What’s the Connection Between Birth Control and Oral Health?
Because birth control pills are made up of hormones that prevent fertility, taking birth control causes hormonal changes in women. These changes can increase susceptibility to oral health problems by affecting the blood flow taken up by the gum tissue and the body’s response to toxins created by plaque buildup.
What Effect Does Birth Control Have on Oral Health?
According to dentists, women taking certain oral contraceptives that may contain progesterone may experience inflamed gum tissues. This is because the body has an exaggerated reaction to toxins produced from plaque. However, newer birth control pills have lower concentrations of hormones, which means you’re less likely to experience inflamed gum tissues while using them.
Experts also note a link between birth control pills, decreased natural estrogen, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Research shows that birth control pills can reduce the natural estrogen levels that affect the TMJ. Additionally, the combination of compression and decreased natural estrogen levels caused by TMJ disorders within the joint can increase inflammation. This can cause osteoarthritis of the joints in some people.
If you’re taking the birth control pill and have had a tooth extracted, you’re more likely to experience a painful complication known as dry socket. This condition occurs when naturally occurring blood clots become dislodged after an extraction.
Do Birth Control Methods Other Than the Pill Affect Oral Health?
A published study found that women who used the injectable progesterone contraception depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) likely had or improved poor gingival and periodontal health. The hormones estrogen and progesterone in contraceptives are linked to increased inflammation that causes periodontal tissue destruction, plaque formation, and gingival enlargement.
Consult Your Dentist
To ensure that birth control does not adversely affect your oral health, tell your dentist if you are taking birth control pills and what type you are taking. Another reason to share this information is that some antibiotics that your dentist may prescribe can reduce the effectiveness of birth control.
While birth control can affect your oral health, consulting your dentist and doctor can help you manage the side effects of birth control methods. Maintaining a regular oral care routine is key to keeping your mouth healthy and comfortable.