The following information was written by Dr. Minsk and published on various internet web-sites.

Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills contain combinations of estrogen and progesterone that after long-term use can contribute to gingivitis similar to that seen in pregnancy gingivitis. The elevated levels of progesterone and estrogen can result in dilation of the blood vessels, inflammation and an obstruction in the normal repair mechanisms of the gums. These hormonal changes may exaggerate the body’s normal response to dental plaque, resulting in red, swollen gums that may bleed easily and become painful. These changes may be especially pronounced around the lower front teeth

Like all other forms of gingivitis, gingivitis related to the use of birth control pills can be very often controlled with regular professional cleaning and reinforcement of oral hygiene techniques (daily brushing and flossing). Scaling and root planing with local anesthesia may be indicated and antimicrobial mouthrinses may also be prescribed.

Women that take birth control pills also have a two to three time increase in the incidence of dry sockets after tooth extraction. Dry socket is a painful condition that develops if a poor blood clot forms after a tooth is removed and the bone becomes exposed. To prevent the formation of a dry socket, it is recommended that women who take birth control pills, schedule to have teeth extracted on the placebo days of their cycle (days 23-28). But if an emergency arises, teeth may have to be extracted at other times and the dentist will take additional precautions to prevent complications from a dry socket.

Also, it is important to note that some antibiotics may interfere with the absorption of birth control pills, making them ineffective in preventing pregnancy. This is a very rare occurrence, however, make sure you inform your dentist that you take birth control pills and use alternative methods of birth control if you require antibiotic treatment.

Some brands of birth control pills may affect the gums more than others. So, if you are having gingivitis related to the use of birth control pills, speak to your dentist and gynecologist about the possibility of switching to another brand. Also it seems like the effects of birth control pills have on the gums are cumulative. The longer you have been taking birth control pills, the more likely you are to have oral changes related to their use. Like with all forms of gingivitis related to hormonal changes, meticulous plaque control and professional dental exams and cleanings are critical in controlling the effects of variations of sex hormones on the oral cavity.

Nikolaos D. Karellos, D.M.D. | prosthodontist
Laura Minsk, D.M.D. | periodontist
Nikolaos D. Karellos, D.M.D.
Laura Minsk, D.M.D.
801 Yale Ave.
Suite 619
Swarthmore, PA 19081