It's not news for most women that our hormones affect pretty much everything about us.
From puberty onward, we are reminded every time we have a menstrual period. For some of us, the reminders hit home even harder with PMS symptoms that herald its approach.
As it turns out, the impact of our fluctuating hormones extends even further than we thought. Hormonal effects can have a big impact on our oral and dental health.
There was a day when pregnant women were cautioned against seeing a dentist. Research over the years has turned this around, to the point where women are encouraged to be see their dentist often.
Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine found that normal changes in female hormones can result in increased gum disease, bone loss and pregnancy complications.
Bacteria growth in our mouths is affected by our hormones, allowing bacteria to get into our blood, leading to increased problems related to bone density, and to difficulties in pregnancy.
This research was reported in the May, 2012 edition of Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry.
Oral and dental health isn't just affected by the hormonal changes that happen to younger fertile women.
Hitting menopause may make you think that you've finally reached the stage where all that surging and ebbing of female hormones stops, that you'll now be free of hormone-induced vulnerabilities.
But you'd be wrong. Postmenopause is certainly different than the situation of younger women dealing with periods and pregnancy. But it is not any safer for the health of your mouth and your teeth.
In a separate study, research from the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic has indicated that postmenopausal women may have higher levels of dental plaque than women who have not reached menopause.
When left untreated this can ultimately lead to loss of bone mass.
After menopause, women experience an escalating risk for both osteoporosis and periodontal disease. The bone in the jaw that holds their teeth secure can experience a reduction in bone density, making tooth loss a greater possibility.