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Effects of Contraceptive Use on Oral Health

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 66.2% of women in the United States visited the dental office in 2016. Additionally, 64.9% of the 72.2 million women ages 15 to 49 in the US were using hormonal or nonhormonal contraceptives between 2015 and 2017. In light of these figures, oral health professionals should understand the oral effects that may present in women who use contraceptives. Familiarity with the different forms of contraceptives—and potential reasons for their use other than birth control—is important for comprehensive patient care.

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While commonly used to prevent pregnancy, oral contraceptives can also be used to treat which of the following?

Colorful oral contraceptive pill both 21 and 28 tablets strips. areeya_ann / iStock Getty Images Plus
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Typically, traditional oral contraceptives are a combination of two hormones: estrogen and progestogen

Anatomy of uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries on example of anatomical model of female genital organ. Shidlovski / iStock Getty Images Plus
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Evidence indicates that women taking traditional forms of oral contraceptives have a decreased risk for gingival inflammation, dry socket, temporomandibular joint disorder, clinical attachment loss, and gingival hyperplasia.

Close up of birth control with calendar date towfiqu ahamed / iStock Getty Images Plus
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An investigation by Mullally et al found that periodontitis was seen in what percentage of women who were actively using oral contraceptives?

Periodontitis testing, gum recession process. Medically accurate 3D illustration alex-mit / iStock Getty Images Plus
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Research suggests traditional oral contraceptives containing progestin and estrogen negatively affect oral health.

Pregnancy Termination Pills. Female contraception, medication abortion Andrii Zastrozhnov / iStock Getty Images Plus
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Kazerooni et al noted that probing depths, clinical gingival index, bleeding on probing, and papillary bleeding were all elevated in patients using levonorgestrel implant contraception.

Periodontal probes for measuring pocket depths zlikovec / iStock Getty Images Plus
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Recognizing adverse oral side effects in women taking oral or nonoral contraceptives is essential for comprehensive care, and will allow providers to tailor treatment plans to meet the patient’s individual needs. 

The contraceptive pill for a month shawshot / iStock Getty Images Plus
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Effects of Contraceptive Use on Oral Health
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This information is from the article Oral Health Effects of Contraceptive Use by Karla Lugo, RDH, BSDH; Isabella Trinh, RDH, BSDH; Giavonni Gonzales, RDH, BSDH; Faizan Kabani, PhD, MBA, MHA, RDH, FAADH; Lisa Mallonee, MPH, RDH, RD, LD; and Maureen Brown, RDH, MS-HIED. To read the article, click here.

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