Gum Disease and Women
At DC Perio & Implants we recognize a woman’s periodontal health and gums may be impacted by a variety of factors that are unique to women. As women embark on their life journey there are events that are unique in women’s life, however, can have an impact on their overall health, including the oral cavity and their gums and periodontal health. At DC Perio & Implants we acknowledge that these events and the hormonal changes, such as puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause and post-menopause, need to be considered when the periodontal health is evaluated and diagnosed. Below please find additional information about these events that cause hormonal changes which impact the health of your gums.
During puberty, an increased level of sex hormones, such as progesterone and possibly estrogen, causes increased blood circulation to the gums. This may cause an increase in the gum’s sensitivity and lead to a greater reaction to any irritation, including food particles and plaque. During this time, the gums may become swollen, turn red and feel tender. It is important to recognize this and reinforce oral hygiene instructions during these developmental years and establish good habits for long-term maintenance of the dentition.
Occasionally, some women experience menstruation gingivitis. Women with this condition may experience bleeding gums, bright red and swollen gums and sores on the inside of the cheek. Menstruation gingivitis typically occurs right before a woman’s period and clears up once her period has started. At DC Perio & Implants we strive to recognize this and reinforce good home care to prevent any long-term effect on the periodontal health. Educating our patients about their susceptibility to gum infection and irritation during their menstruation can help them to implement better home care habits and prevent damage to their periodontal health during this time.
Some studies have suggested the possibility of an additional risk factor – periodontal disease. Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small. However, more research is needed to confirm how periodontal disease may affect pregnancy outcomes. Additionally, women with pregnancy gingivitis can have frequent gum growth that can occur on their gums and may in some instances need to be removed. At DC Perio & Implants we recommend patients with these symptoms to be monitored to not only ensure good periodontal health but also prevent any negative effect on their pregnancy.
Menopause and Post-Menopause:
Women who are menopausal or post-menopausal may experience changes in their mouths. They may notice discomfort in the mouth, including dry mouth, pain and burning sensations in the gum tissue and altered taste, especially salty, peppery or sour.
In addition, menopausal gingivostomatitis affects a small percentage of women. Gums that look dry or shiny, bleed easily and range from abnormally pale to deep red mark this condition. Most women find that estrogen supplements help to relieve these symptoms. Close monitoring through a periodontist can aid in management of these symptoms and improving the periodontal health.