If you're using a contraceptive pill, then you probably already know that you may suffer from some side effects. You may not realise that these side effects can extend to your oral health as well as your general well-being. If you've started to notice changes to your gum health, then this may be down to the pills you're taking. How do contraceptives affect your mouth and what can you do about it?
Increased Hormones and Oral Health
Your teeth and gums can be affected by hormonal changes. For example, some women notice that their gums become tender or puffy and bleed more easily when they are menstruating or pregnant. This can also happen when you take contraceptive pills. These pills use hormones to control fertility; the changes they make in your body may also cause changes to your gums. This may make it harder for your gums to manage bacteria in your mouth and may make them more fragile and prone to bleeding. Over time, these kinds of problems can lead to gum disease and issues with your teeth.
How to Keep Gums Healthy When You're Taking Oral Contraceptives
If your teeth and gums were in good nick before you started taking the pill, and you are good at brushing and flossing, then you may not notice too many changes to your gums while you're on the pill. If you notice changes to your gums, it's important to have your dentist check them over as soon as you can.
Even if you have a good oral hygiene routine, it's important to tell your dentist that you're taking oral contraceptives. This ensures that your dentist can keep a close eye on your gum health to look out for any changes that might need treatment. The earlier you deal with gum problems, the less damage they can do. Your dentist may also recommend additional measures to protect your teeth and gums from hormonal changes. For example, you may be advised to use a mouthwash that helps deal with gum problems and to have a regular professional dental cleaning to help your gums work to optimum effect.
In some cases, for example, if you are having regular gum problems, dentists may recommend that you ask your doctor if you can take an alternative oral contraceptive or that you come off the pill until your gums get sorted out. Bear in mind that there is an obvious risk if you stop taking your pills and that you shouldn't do this without a viable birth control alternative unless you want to get pregnant.