If you're a female, your hormones play a major role in your dental health. The hormone changes that you go through – throughout your life – can actually affect the overall health of your gums and teeth. In fact, you might not realize this but your gums go through changes all the time due to the fluctuation in your hormone levels. Here are four things you should know about the connection between your mouth and your hormones.

It Begins in Puberty

When puberty begins, your hormones start surging into overdrive. The hormones progesterone and estrogen work together to increase your blood flow, including the amount of blood that gets to your gums. Unfortunately, your gums don't know how to react to the increased blood flow, which may cause irritation inside your mouth, as well as red, swollen gums. You'll probably also notice an increased amount of blood when you brush and floss your teeth.

Things Can Get Bad Each Month

If the problems during puberty weren't bad enough, your dental health will also take a hit during your menstrual cycle. That's right, every time you have your period, you might also experience an increase in dental problems such as swollen salivary glands, canker sores and bleeding gums. Like PMS, menstrual gingivitis usually shows up a few days before your period.

Birth Control Pills Can Exaggerate the Problem

If you take birth control pills that contain progesterone, you have a greater risk of developing dental problems associated with plaque, including an increase in the number of cavities you get, as well as an increased risk for gum problems, such as swelling or bleeding. This is because increased progesterone makes your mouth react adversely to the toxins contained in plaque.

Pregnancy Does Quite a Number

You're not going to be off the hook if you get pregnant, either. You see, pregnancy also causes hormone fluctuations which lead to an increased risk for dental problems. In fact, during pregnancy, you can develop a condition known as pregnancy gingivitis. You may notice an increase in bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth. You may also develop additional cavities during pregnancy due to the increased hormones raging through your body.

Even if you brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day and see your dentist twice a year, you may still be at risk for dental problems if you're a female. Be sure to speak to your dentist if you're experiencing any of the problems discussed above.