Mood swings, excruciating stomach cramps, unexplained lethargy, and discomfort… think these are only “side effects” of menstruation? If you said yes, then you really underestimate your periods.
Turns out, menstruation can also affect your dental health! Or so, claim several health experts and researchers worldwide, including the ones at the Australian Dental Association.
Unexpected, huh? Or does the sore in your inner cheek and swollen gums suddenly make sense now?
Take this quiz: Are you brushing your teeth right?
Yes, Aunty Flo can totally mess with your dental health. And not just when you chum–but before and after too. Here’s how:
During your period
Ladies, when the unfertilized egg breaks, the levels of progesterone and oestrogen in your body drop as these hormones no longer need to stay elevated to maintain a pregnancy. This in turn, can have the following consequences on your dental health:
Jaw osteoporosis: As per an article in the American Health and Psychology Service, a decrease in the “bone-protective” oestrogen can cause osteoporosis in the jaw. In this condition, your jaw bone might become weak and prone to fractures and shrinkage.
Other conditions: The article further mentions the possibility of the lack of oestrogen causing dryness in the mouth, chronic ulcers, sloughing of gum tissue, abnormal taste sensation, and burning-mouth syndrome.
Before and after your period
You might think that the only thing your body does during your period is shed off that unused uterine lining. But what you probably don’t realise is that the process of building up another uterine lining for the next cycle starts on the last day of your period itself.
Now, this process needs progesterone and oestrogen.
As these hormones increase to lend their helping hand, they lead to an increased blood flow to the gums and decrease their to fight off plaque and toxins.
“This may lead to red, swollen, and bleeding gums and sometimes even sores on the inside of cheeks. We call this menstruation gingivitis,” says Dr Nitika Punhani, consultant at the Department of Dentistry, Nayati Medicity in Mathura.
During or immediately after your period, as these hormones finally start getting back to normal, the painful symptoms of menstruation gingivitis also go away.
It’s obvious isn’t it? You need to pay special attention to your oral health–regardless of your menstrual cycle. Brush your teeth at least twice daily. Moreover, eat a diet which is rich in calcium to increase your bone density.
Additionally, Dr Punhani also recommends cutting down on your sugar intake, flossing and rinsing the mouth with a mouthwash twice a day, and scheduling regular dental check-ups every six months to be on the safer side.