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How are Hormones and Teeth Linked?

Posted on 1/20/2022 by Joshua M. Ignatowicz DMD & Associates
Woman smiling with perfect teeth

What is the link between my oral health & my overall health?

Although most people don’t realize it, the oral cavity (mouth) is like a mirror that can reflect a lot of things going on in the rest of the body. Many systemic diseases show oral symptoms in their early phase. The same way there is a blood-brain barrier that helps protect the brain from toxins, there is also a barrier between the gums and teeth and the rest of the body. When there is inflammation or infection in the mouth, it breaks this barrier down a little, which can trigger dysfunction in the rest of the body. This is called the oral-systemic link, which was discovered in 1954, and is now widely accepted and studied.

How are my hormones related to my teeth?

Hormone levels play a critical role in your dental health. They are a natural occurring chemical that help regulate several body functions including metabolism, growth, blood pressure, reproduction, mood, and sleep. The level of hormones in your body relates directly to your body’s inflammatory response to infection and disease. Hormone imbalances that create an inflammatory response can result in a huge growth in oral bacteria. With a higher level of bacteria comes a higher the risk of decay. Oral decay breaks down the protection between oral and systemic, which opens the body to more chances of infection and inflammation.

What kinds of hormone changes should I look out for?

•  Thyroid disorders affect millions of men and women. People with hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) may have increased swelling and inflammation in gums and tongue, dry mouth, increased risk of decay, jaw pain, increase risk of tooth loss, and slower healing. People affected with hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) may be more prone to infections, have increased rate of tooth decay, and increased rate of osteoporosis.
•  Pregnancy can cause hormone levels to become unbalanced, contributing to gingivitis. This can make gums more tender and swollen, bleed more easily, and more prone to infection. This is easily treated with help from your dentist.
•  Low testosterone and chronic gum disease have been linked in recent studies. This can lead to more serious problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, ALS, and hypertension.
•  Adrenal Fatigue can be caused by chronic gum or tooth decay. It occurs when your body becomes too overwhelmed to maintain a healthy hormonal balance. Adrenal fatigue can lead to gut issues such as leaky gut, which can lead to additional health problems.

What should I do?

Maintaining good oral hygiene and treating your dental health issues early is essential to maintaining hormonal balance and boosting your whole-body health. Make sure you are visiting your dentist at least two times per year and keeping them updated on any changes you may have noticed in your mouth or in your overall health.
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