More than 10 million Americans suffer from temporomandibular disorder (TMD). The pain and dysfunction associated with TMD are more prevalent among women during reproductive years. This suggests that estrogen plays a role in TMD.
The role of estrogen in TMD
Women have unique hormonal changes that they experience, which can lead to increased sensitivity to oral health problems. Looking at these hormonal changes, they not only affect the blood supply to the gum tissue, but also the body’s response to the toxins. This can result in plaque build up. As a result, women are more prone to periodontal disease as well as other oral health problems.
In particular, researchers have found that the use of synthetic estrogens, or birth control pills, can lead to decreased levels of natural estrogen. Decreased levels of natural estrogen can be associated with TMD. The connection between birth control pills, decreased natural estrogen and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders appears to be present. Combining compression within the joint caused by TMD and low levels of natural estrogen, women can experience increased inflammation. This can also lead to osteoarthritis in the joint.
How women can prevent oral health complications
There are ways for women to prevent the development of a variety of oral health problems. Follow these preventive measures as a way to remain healthy:
- Brush your teeth twice a day.
- Use toothpaste with fluoride.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Visit your dentist twice a year.
- Eat a well balanced diet.
- Avoid sugary or starchy snacks.
Contact us to learn more about the connection between estrogen and TMD. Together we can find a solution to improve your condition.