Women and Periodontal Health
Throughout a woman’s life, hormonal changes affect tissue throughout the body. Fluctuations in hormonal levels occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. At these times, the possibility of periodontal disease may increase, requiring special care of your oral region.
During puberty, there is increased production of sex hormones. These higher hormone levels increase gum vulnerability and lead to greater irritation from plaque and food particles. The gums can become swollen, bleed easily, turn red, and feel tender, therefore, maintaining oral hygiene is a key factor to minimize the gum tissue destruction.
Similar symptoms could appear several days before and during menstruation. Bleeding of the gums, bright red swelling between the teeth and gum, or sores on the inside of the cheek may occur. Careful oral hygiene at home and professional cleaning may relieve these symptoms.
Your gums and teeth are also affected during pregnancy. Between the second and eighth month, gums may also swell, bleed, and become red or tender. Large lumps may appear as a reaction to local irritants. However, these growths are generally painless and not cancerous. They may require professional removal if they are bothering the patient (Shown in the picture). Periodontal health practices should be part of your prenatal care. Any infections during pregnancy, including periodontal infections, can place a baby’s health at risk.Careful oral hygiene at home and professional cleaning may relieve these symptoms. For more information, see the section of our website labeled “Pregnancy and Periodontal Disease” under the “Mouth-Body Connection” tab.
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Swelling, bleeding, and tenderness of the gums may also occur when you are taking oral contraceptives, which are synthetic hormones. Careful oral hygiene at home and professional cleaning may relieve these symptoms.
You should always mention any prescriptions you are taking, including oral contraceptives, prior to medical or dental treatment. This will help eliminate the risk of drug interactions, such as antibiotics with oral contraceptives, which lessens the effectiveness of the contraceptive.
Changes in the look and feel of your mouth may occur if you are menopausal or post-menopausal. They include: feeling pain and burning in your gum tissue and salty, peppery, sour tastes, and “dry mouth.” Careful oral hygiene at home and professional cleaning may relieve these symptoms. There are also saliva substitutes to treat the effects of dry mouth.