Women and Periodontal Health
Throughout a woman’s life, hormonal changes affect tissues throughout the body. Fluctuations in hormonal levels occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. At these times, the chance of periodontal disease may increase, requiring special care.
During puberty, there is increased production of hormones. These higher hormone levels increase gum sensitivity and lead to greater irritation from plaque and food particles. The gums can become swollen, turn red, and feel tender.
Similar symptoms to those seen in puberty occasionally appear several days before menstruation. Bleeding of the gums, bright red swelling of the gum between the teeth, or sores on the inside of the cheek may occur. These symptoms generally clear up within a few days.
Your gums are also affected during pregnancy. Between the second and eighth month, gums may swell, bleed, and become red or tender. Large lumps may appear as a reaction to bacterial plaque. However, these growths are generally painless and not cancerous. They may require professional removal, but usually disappear some time after delivery. Establishing and maintaining periodontal health should be part of your prenatal care. Any infections during pregnancy, including periodontal infections, can effect a baby’s health.
Swelling, bleeding, and tenderness of the gums may occur when you are taking oral contraceptives, which are synthetic hormones.
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. For example, antibiotics can decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.
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. If they persist our specialist in oral medicine can help reduce or eliminate these problems.