New Study Finds Birth Control Pills May Lead to Bad Breath
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University recently reviewed 61 journal articles with nearly 100 studies in an analysis to determine whether “hormones have a relationship to gum disease and specific women’s health issues.” They found that women are actually at a greater risk for dental problems and the conditions associated with them because of their hormones.
And since oral contraceptives increase estrogen and/or progesterone levels in the body in order to prevent pregnancy, they naturally have an impact on dental health, as well.
In one study, women between the ages of 20 and 35 who were on the pill had deeper gaps in their gums, more severe tooth attachment loss, and more bleeding sites upon probing than those who weren’t on the pill. It concluded that “current users of oral contraceptives had poorer periodontal health.”
In another study, women who were on the pill were found to suffer from significantly more gum destruction than women who were using other forms of birth control. Worse, the longer women were on birth control, the more unhealthy their gums were.
In a third study, oral contraceptive users had 16-fold higher levels of certain mouth bacteria and two to three times more tooth bone inflammation than women who used other forms of birth control.
On top of that, the findings aren’t exactly good news for the Latino community either. Research from Planned Parenthood shows that 87% of Latinos said it is very important for teens to avoid getting pregnant or causing a pregnancy, and 51% said avoiding teen pregnancy is even more important for Latinos than it is for other groups.
Fortunately, things may not be as bad as they sound. The Huffington Post cites the Cleveland Dental Clinic, which says “The most profound changes in the gums are seen in the first few months after starting the birth control pills.”
What’s more, newer birth control pills have lower concentrations of hormones, so the inflammatory responses may be less than what they once were.
Ultimately, the best solution is prevention.
“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,” Dr. Angela Evanson, DDS, told the Huffington Post. “These simple measures can prevent — and even resolve — gum disease when practiced consistently.”
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