Birth Control Pills May Cause Bad Breath — And Worse

  • By Joel Snyder
  • 04 Nov, 2016

Seventy-five percent of Americans have some form of gum disease, according to  The New York Times .

Former president of the American Association for Dental Research, Dr. Robert Genco, calls periodontal disease — an advanced form of gum disease that affects half of Americans — a public health concern. “[It] is one of the most prevalent non-communicable chronic diseases in our population.”

While gum disease can cause bad breath, inflammation, infection and tooth loss, studies suggest that it affects the rest of your body as well. Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr. Nigel Carter, explains, “The link between oral health and overall body health is well documented and backed by robust scientific evidence.” Periodontitis is associated with osteoporosis, stroke, diabetes, heart disease and low-birth-weight infants.

There are obvious and heavily reported culprits of gum disease, including smoking, consuming sugary or acidic foods, poor oral hygiene and stress. But an increasing body of evidence points to fluctuations in hormones as an additional cause. The American Academy of Periodontology concedes, “Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health.”

Indeed, the connection between dental health and sex hormones is well established. Increased estrogen levels, particularly during puberty and pregnancy, stimulate blood flow in the mouth and change the way gum tissue reacts to irritants in plaque, causing gums to become red, tender, swollen and more likely to bleed — ripe conditions for gum disease. Periodontitis prior to puberty is, therefore, very rare. In both cases, “the elevation of female hormones (estrogens) causes blog vessel changes in their gums, making them more susceptible to the effects of bacteria,” says President Elect of the American Academy of Periodontics, Dr. Susan Karabin, DDS.

A recent analysis by researchers at Case Western Reserve University, which reviewed 61 journal articles with nearly 100 studies for a collective answer on “whether hormones have a relationship to gum disease and specific women’s health issues”, predictably found that women are at greater risk for dental problems — and the conditions associated with them — because of their hormones.

So it’s no surprise that oral contraceptives, which increase estrogen and/or progesterone levels in the body to prevent pregnancy, impact dental health, too.

In one study, current pill users ages 20-35 had deeper gum gaps, more severe tooth attachment loss and more bleeding sites upon probing than non-users. The study concluded decisively that “current users of oral contraceptives had poorer periodontal health.”

In another study, the mean amount of gum destruction was significantly higher in women on oral contraceptives compared with those using other forms of birth control. The longer users had been on birth control, the worse their gums were.

In yet another study, women using oral contraceptives had 16-fold higher levels of certain mouth bacteria and two-to-three times more tooth bone inflammation than women on other forms of birth control. Likewise, women on the pill experience “a statistically significant increase in gingival inflammation.”

What do we do?

For one, some assert that it’s not as bad as we think. Cleveland Dental Clinic notes: “The most profound changes in the gums are seen in the first few months after starting the birth control pills”; and, because newer birth control pills have lower concentrations of hormones, inflammatory responses may be less than what they once were — though the studies I cite are recent. One UK site recommends changing to a pill with a lower concentration of progesterone, though no research has been conducted on this specific proposal.

Dr. Angela Evanson, DDS, of Parker, Colo. emphasizes that there’s often no one factor contributing to gum disease. For this reason, dentists need to closely examine their patients’ history and habits, not just their teeth. Dentists should know if their patients are on the pill not only to help them take additional steps to prevent gum disease but also because oral contraceptives can lower the effectiveness of certain antibiotics used to treat it.

But dentists can only do so much. Patients are ultimately responsible for their own health, from their prescription choices to how much they floss.

In the end, timely, thorough treatment is most important. Evanson told me:

I see [patients with] gum disease from all sorts of things, but the solution is usually the same: minimize plaque by using an antimicrobial mouthwash, floss, don’t smoke, avoid sugar and soda, reduce stress. These simple measures can prevent—and even resolve—gum disease when practiced consistently.

Fabulous Smiles Tips and News

By Joel Snyder 17 Aug, 2017
I took part in painting a mural designed by local mural artist Tucker Russell. The mural is on the side of the Flax Art store in San Francisco. Started out with just a few of us than more aspiring artists joined in. Who knew it would be so much fun to spray paint graffiti!!
By Danielle Burgess 02 Aug, 2017
According to the American Dental Association, or ADA, the average time that people wait to see their dentist is three years. And in these three years, a lot can happen that can damage or wear on your teeth. You can end up with shorter teeth due to wearing down or accidents that damage them, or stained teeth due to diet. These things can leave you feeling self-conscious.

Thankfully, there are ways to restore worn or short teeth and to get brighter teeth. With special dental implants, you can reshape your teeth , and teeth whitening options can restore their healthy shine. But you still need to take care of them, even after having a procedure to reshape your teeth or a teeth whitening.

You don't want to get teeth whitening only for them to be stained again.

So, to help you keep a healthy smile pre-procedure and post-procedure, here are some tips that you should keep in mind.

1. Brush Your   Mouth   Often

Not just your teeth, you should brush everything in your mouth. Your gums, your tongue, the roof of your mouth. All of these things need to be brushed and brushed often. This will help keep your teeth cleaner longer and prevent germs from taking root.

Make sure you brush these areas gently to avoid causing more damage than you help.

2. Floss Often

As most dentists will tell you, flossing is a good thing to do to keep your teeth clean. Brushing can clean the surfaces, but can't do much for the spaces in between. You need to floss to get a totally clean, and you should floss at least once a day.

3. Eat A Teeth-Friendly Diet

Most people indulge in sugary foods because they taste good. However, sometimes the best tasting foods can be the most harmful to your teeth. Things like sodas, candies, and other sugary items should be consumed in moderation.

Foods such as nuts, fruits, cheese, and vegetables are all teeth friendly. And cheese is good for your mouth because it makes you produce more saliva, which neutralizes acids.

These are just a few tips to ensure that you have a healthy mouth after engaging in an expensive teeth-restoring procedure. You don't want the work you put into your mouth being undone because you engaged in some bad habits.
By Danielle Burgess 26 Jul, 2017
Working a high powered job, dental care can is not only time consuming but also embarrassing. After all, 74% of adults feel an unattractive smile can hurt their careers. But with concierge dentistry, you can receive all the dentistry you need, both general and cosmetic dentistry in a condensed time span.

But what is concierge dentistry, and what are the benefits? This post is designed to give you a general understanding of what concierge dentistry is and how it can help you maintain your confidence that allowed you to go so far in your career.

Full-Service Dentistry
Concierge dentistry is about providing you the dental care you need in a manner that is expedient and convenient. That means that those who specialize in concierge dentistry must have a deep understanding of both general dentistry and cosmetic practices.

This allows you to condense the number of dental visits because regardless of whether you are getting dental implants or having your teeth whitened, you only have one dental office to schedule through.

More Attentive Care
When it comes to your time, concierge dental groups understand how important it is. Since these services take on fewer clients, they are able to give you a greater level of care, meaning that they can accomplish more in one appointment than many dental offices can in three.

The difference in your schedule can be huge. Instead of taking an hour off two or three times a month to see to all your dental needs, you can take off one chunk of time and rest assured that your needs will be met.

Renewed Confidence
High powered jobs are highly visible jobs. That means that you are constantly needing to look your best. Stains on your teeth or a gap can do a great deal to undermine your sense of confidence.

The professionals at a concierge dentist office will go above and beyond to address your every concern and have you feeling self-assured again in no time.

Whether you are a CEO or the head of public relations, it can be hard to juggle your dentistry needs and your busy schedule. Concierge dentistry offers you a personalized service that will handle your dental care needs quickly so you can get back to doing what you do best.
By Joel Snyder 20 Jun, 2017
Over the years, I have treated family and friends going through cancer therapy. The symptoms
and side effects of the disease and its treatment can cause physical and oral changes that affect
how you feel and live. The following information is meant for these patients with head and neck
cancer and their caregivers understand and cope with the management of their oral care.

You are welcome to request my whitepaper for more information, call for consultation, or schedule a pre-treatment examination.
---Katharine Jones DDS
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