Birth control and poor oral health

Today’s women have various birth control methods to choose from when it comes to preventing pregnancy. There is a lot to consider with different brands and product types offering varying levels of hormones and side effects.

Most women are surprised to learn that their birth control may be affecting more than just their ability to conceive a child.

Read on to learn more about the connection between birth control, elevated hormone levels, and how it can impact your oral health.

Are Hormonal Changes Impacting Your Oral Health?

Certain phases in a woman’s life, such as puberty, PMS, pregnancy, and menopause, can have a significant impact on overall health. Substantial estrogen and progesterone fluctuations can affect your oral health due to the changing hormone levels in your body. Many forms of birth control include hormones, and when there is an uptick or sizable fluctuation in the number of hormones in your body, it can negatively affect your health.

In your mouth, these changing hormone levels can bring about an inflammatory response in your gums, creating gum disease-like symptoms. The most common oral symptoms associated with taking birth control are sore, swollen, or bleeding gums. Gum disease has been directly linked to an increase in other health risks, including heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Side Effects of Oral Contraceptives

Most forms of birth control include a certain level of estrogen and progesterone. The first month after starting birth control has the most significant impact on the body. When these large fluctuations of hormones begin, some women begin to experience gum disease-like symptoms and an increase in tooth sensitivity. Women who already have gingivitis or are at a higher risk for gum disease to develop should be aware of how the side effects of oral contraceptives can further affect their oral health and increase their chances.

Other Risk Factors To Take Into Consideration

Some other lifestyle factors can affect your oral health while on birth control.


Women who smoke and use birth control have an increased risk of several health issues. These include, but are not limited to, blood clotting, dry mouth, tooth decay, and oral cancers.


Certain medications can be less effective or have harmful interactions with birth control. Always discuss any medical concerns with your doctor and discuss your medications with your dentist.

Amount of Time 

The amount of time a woman uses hormone-based birth control increases her risk of developing gum disease.

Combat Any Risks With Good Oral Health

The best way to keep your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy while taking birth control is to keep up with excellent oral health care habits at home. With just a few quick minutes of brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day and flossing once a day, a woman can have a positive effect on her oral health.

Incorporating an alcohol-free mouthwash with fluoride is a great way to help clear additional bacteria from your teeth and mouth, especially in hard-to-reach areas. Chewing sugar-free gum between meals will help to increase natural saliva production and wash away left-behind food particles.

Always Discuss All Medications With Your Dentist

Scheduling routine teeth cleanings and exams with your dentist twice a year is a great way to keep your entire mouth healthy. During your dental check-ups, be sure to discuss all medications you are currently taking with your dentist, including birth control. Your dentist can help to keep a close eye on your oral health to ensure any required prescriptions do not harm your teeth and gums.

If you are concerned that your birth control is having a negative effect on your oral health, or simply want to learn more about preventing gum disease, contact with Hoffman Dental Care to schedule your next appointment.