Oral Health and Birth Control: What Women Need to Know

Most women are aware that birth control can affect mood and weight, but it may be a surprise to know that oral contraceptives can also affect your oral health. Peace Haven Family Dentistry believes it’s best to learn about the connection between oral health and birth control before making your contraception decision. So, let’s examine the facts.

What Are the Connections between Oral Health and Birth Control?

Oral health includes much more than being cavity free and having pearly white teeth. It encompasses your gums, teeth, and jawbones—all at risk for disorders and diseases that can adversely affect your physical health in other areas of the body.

The critical components of contraceptives are hormones that interfere with fertility. As a result, taking birth control medication causes hormonal changes. These changes can negatively affect your oral health, especially if you’re already experiencing the early stages of gum disease (gingivitis) or are susceptible to developing it.

What Are the Side Effects of Oral Contraceptives?

Women taking oral contraceptives that contain progesterone might experience inflamed gum tissues due to their body’s heightened negative response to the toxins produced from plaque bacteria. That’s a significant problem since chronic gum inflammation can lead to the progressive destruction of soft tissue and bone.

Even progesterone injections, specifically depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), can increase gingivitis and periodontal disease risk. Side effects that you should be aware of include the following:

Periodontal tissue breakdown
Plaque buildup
Gingival enlargement

Birth control pills clash with oral health in other ways as well. For instance, if you have a tooth removed while taking birth control pills, you’re more likely to develop dry socket. This is a painful condition that occurs because naturally formed blood clots get dislodged.

Peace Haven Family Dentistry can help you navigate the most recent research on birth control and oral health.
Schedule a consultation today to discuss your risks and preventive care.

Book an Appointment today!

Consult Your Dentist about Birth Control Pills and Oral Health

It’s essential to consult with your dentist to ensure your birth control choices don’t significantly affect your oral health. If you’re currently taking contraceptives, inform your dentist. This information also comes in handy if your dentist has to prescribe antibiotics, since certain antibiotics lower contraceptive effectiveness.

Although you can’t control how a contraceptive will interact with your mouth, you can control how you approach the problem. You can take proactive measures to mitigate adverse effects.

10 Steps to Manage Your Oral Health While Taking Birth Control

  1. Consult with your dentist and physician.
  2. Schedule regular dental cleanings, and tell your hygienist if you’ve noticed worrisome changes.
  3. Brush and floss at least twice daily.
  4. Maintain a healthy, balanced diet and limit snacks.
  5. Make sure you get enough calcium.
  6. Limit sweet snacks.
  7. Drink plenty of water, which can dilute and flush sugars, acids, and toxins from your mouth.
  8. Regulate the times you eat. Eating a meal releases more saliva than eating a light snack. Saliva helps wash foods out of your mouth and mitigates the effects of acids.
  9. Chew sugarless gum. When you chew gum, it can help eliminate food particles caught between your teeth. It also stimulates saliva production, which helps prevent plaque buildup.
  10. If you smoke, we highly encourage you to quit. Smoking leads to significant oral health problems as more plaque and tartar adhere to a smoker’s teeth.

Birth control is a personal choice that many women face as teens and adults. But you don’t have to go it alone. Consult with your doctor and dentist, and get the facts you need to make the right decision for you. If you need to use hormonal contraceptives, it’s crucial to maintain an effective daily oral health routine at home. And remember to schedule periodic dental visits for cleanings and to assess your overall oral health.

Oral health and birth control can be manageable if you maintain good oral health habits.

Are you experiencing worrisome oral health symptoms?
Please don’t wait for it to become serious.
Schedule a dental visit to assess your situation.

Book an Appointment today!

Receive Dental Tips for Free!

Enter your email address below and get the latest tips, articles and news related to dentistry right in your inbox.