Throughout a woman’s life, hormonal changes affect tissues throughout the body. Fluctuations in levels occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. At these times, the chance of periodontal disease may increase, requiring special care of your oral health.
During puberty, there is increased production of female hormones. These higher levels increase gum sensitivity and lead to greater irritations from plaque and food particles. The gums can become swollen, red, and tender.
Similar symptoms occasionally appear several days before menstruation. There can be bleeding of the gums, bright red swelling between the teeth and gum, or sores on the inside of the cheek. These symptoms are exaggerated when gum disease is present and, conversely, they are generally minimized when there is an absence of gum disease. The symptoms clear up once the period has started. As the amount of female hormones decrease, so do these problems.
Studies suggest that pregnant women who have chronic periodontal disease are at risk of delivering, premature low birth weight babies, which can be associated with physical and mental underdevelopment.
In addition, between the second and eighth month, expectant mothers may develop “pregnancy gingivitis” when the gums may 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, but usually disappear after pregnancy.
The best way to prevent periodontal infection is to begin with healthy gums and continue to maintain oral health with proper home care and careful periodontal monitoring.
Periodontal health should be part of everyone’s prenatal care.
Swelling, bleeding, and tenderness of the gums may also occur when you are taking oral contraceptives, which are synthetic hormones.
You must 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 – where the effectiveness of the contraceptive can be lessened.
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, or sour tastes.
Careful oral hygiene at home and professional cleaning may relieve these symptoms. There are also saliva substitutes to treat the effects of dry mouth.”