Essays and Instagram need more, but you could definitely pass on periods. There’s more to these monthly monsters than cramps and cravings—your smile can suffer too. From your first period to your last, here’s what menstrual cycles mean for your mouth:
If your tween is about to start—as Cher from Clueless put it—“surfing the crimson wave,” she should expect red, tender and swollen gums. Puberty accelerates estrogen and progesterone production. This increases blood flow and changes how gum tissue reacts to plaque.
Pre-period symptoms can bloat more than just your belly. Swollen gums are common during the days leading up to your period. This makes them prone to sensitivity and bleeding. Referred to as menstruation gingivitis, symptoms should calm down once your period begins.
Pro-Tip: Though cravings may tell you otherwise, forego fries and froyo for foods low in carbs and sugar. Sugar can irritate inflammation in your gums, breasts and belly.
Menopause is another workout for your hormones. As a result, menopausal and post-menopausal women report tooth sensitivity and altered taste perception. With estrogen levels decreasing, bones become weaker too. This isn’t exclusive to arms and legs. Bone loss can shrink the jaw, affecting how dentures fit.
No matter what kind of cycle you experience every 30 days, stay on top of your smile.