Women and Periodontal Disease

Women and Periodontal Disease

Throughout a woman's life, many hormonal changes affect tissue throughout the body. These changes occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. At these times, the chance of periodontal disease may increase, and require special care of the mouth, gums, and teeth.

Puberty

During this time, a woman experiences increased production of sexual hormones. These higher levels increase gum sensitivity and can lead to greater irritation from plaque and food particles. The woman's gum tissue can become swollen, turning red and becoming tender.

Menstruation

Symptoms similar to those during puberty appear several days before mensturation for a woman, too. Bleeding from the gum tissue, bright red or swollen tissue between the teeth and gums, or sores on the inside of the cheeks may occur. The symptoms do tend to clear up, however, once the woman's period has begun.

Pregnancy

A woman's gums and teeth are also affected when she is pregnant. 

Between the second and eighth months, her gums may swell, bleed, and become red or tender. Large lumps sometimes appear as a reaction to local irritants, but tend to be painless and not cancerous. However, if they do not go away after the baby is delivered, they may require professional removal. 

Periodontal health practices are very important during prenatal care. Any infections during pregnancy, including periodontal infections from gum disease, can put a baby's health at risk.

Oral Contraceptives

Swelling, bleeding, and tenderness of the gum tissue can also occur when a woman is taking oral contraceptives (synthetic hormones).

It is very important to mention any current prescriptions, including oral contraceptives, before any medical or dental appointments or treatments. This will help eliminate the risk of drug interactions. Antibiotics with oral contraceptives, for example, is a common interaction that has serious results, as they lessen the effectiveness of the contraceptive.

Menopause

Many changes occur in women's bodies during menopause, including ones regarding the look and feel of the mouth. Pain is one, as well as burning of the gum tissue along with salty, peppery, sour tastes and dry mouth. Careful oral care at home along with regular professional cleanings can help relieve these symptoms.