The impact of oral contraceptives on gums and oral health

Our organism is a machine in perfect synchrony and what usually affects one area in particular, ends up having repercussions in others. Everything that has an impact on our general health, therefore, also affects our oral health, and this is the case when we take certain types of medication such as oral contraceptives. In this article we will try to explain how taking contraceptives affects our gums.

What is an oral contraceptive?

Oral contraceptives are a widely used drug today. In fact it is, according to Stadista (2021), the second most used contraceptive method by women in Spain. Approximately 20% choose this option, with condoms being the most used with 31%.

This group of drugs is composed of oestrogen and progestin, two hormones that women secrete naturally, but with a different composition that prevents the ovaries from releasing the egg in each menstrual cycle, which prevents fertilisation and gives it its contraceptive power. If it has remained one of the most widely used methods of contraception by women for years, it is because it is highly effective (around 98%), because it is convenient (as it only involves taking one pill), it is reversible (you only need to stop taking it to conceive) and because for years it has been used to stabilise the hormone levels during the menstrual cycle of many teenagers and women who had an altered menstrual cycle.

The evolution of pharmacology has made it possible to minimise the adverse effects and contraindications of oral contraceptives, but like any medication, they still have them, which means that they must be chosen carefully by our medical specialist.

Dental hygiene, key to avoiding gum infections

Among the side effects of birth control pills are the appearance of skin blemishes, weight gain or worsening of migraines in those prone to migraines. They can also be directly linked to cardiovascular problems and blood clots.

Taking oral contraceptives does not necessarily cause health problems in our gums, but it is true that women who take them should take special care of their oral health to minimise the risks.

The most common problem we find at Vélez y Lozano is inflammation of the gums, something very common that also occurs during pregnancy or premenstrual syndrome and which manifests itself through swelling and reddening of the gums and causes bleeding during brushing.

Another consequence we can see in our mouth is the appearance of dark spots on the gums (gingival melanosis), especially in women smokers. In case of oral infections, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics, but be aware that while taking antibiotics, contraceptives may stop working, so you will have to take additional contraceptive measures.

Regular check-ups at your trusted dental clinic

To avoid suffering the adverse effects on your oral health, it is recommended that you have a check-up with an periodontist to keep track of your gums. As always, it is important to maintain a balanced diet and good hygiene to prevent gum inflammation. Brush your teeth every day with a proper technique. If you are a smoker, it would be a good idea to quit, and of course, visit a periodontal health specialist regularly. By going to the dentist in time, we can prevent infections from worsening and put an end to them with less invasive treatments.

Dentists specialising in periodontics in Murcia

At Velez & Lozano we have been taking care of our patients' gums since 2008. We have state-of-the-art technology and a team of professionals undergoing continuous training.

We use a Florida digital probe to "measure" millimetre by millimetre the amount of gum and bone in each tooth to determine the risk of suffering from periodontal disease. If you are taking oral contraceptives or you are in another period of your life that may alter your hormones (puberty, pregnancy or menopause), we recommend that you contact the specialist at periodontology of Vélez & Lozano.