If you think kicking a nicotine habit, limiting intake of sugary or acidic foods, and improving your oral hygiene can help prevent gum disease (and bad breath), you’re on the money.

A report by  for the Huffington Post suggests other causes should not be overlooked: oral contraceptives for one.   

 An increasing body of evidence points to fluctuations in hormones as an additional cause. The American Academy of Periodontology concedes, “Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health.”

Indeed, the connection between dental health and sex hormones is well established (Miyagi et al., Jitprasertwong et al., Patil et al.). Increased estrogen levels, particularly during puberty and pregnancy, stimulate blood flow in the mouth and change the way gum tissue reacts to irritants in plaque, causing gums to become red, tender, swollen and more likely to bleed — ripe conditions for gum disease. Periodontitis prior to puberty is, therefore, very rare.

Beaton spoke with President Elect of the American Academy of Periodontics, Dr. Susan Karabin, DDS,offered this:

In both cases, “the elevation of female hormones (estrogens) causes blog vessel changes in their gums, making them more susceptible to the effects of bacteria.”

Read the full story and find out how you can be more responsible for your own health: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/caroline-beaton/birth-control-pills-may-cause-bad-breath—-and-worse_b_8513492.html?utm_hp_ref=dental-health