Women’s Oral Health: Hormonal Changes and Poor Gum Health
Did you know that fluctuations in your hormones can affect your periodontal, or gum, health? Because women experience these fluctuations throughout their lives, they are at a much greater risk of developing gum disease than men. Dr. Bruce Wilderman can explain how hormonal changes can lead to poor gum health and he offers a wide range of restorative dentistry treatments at our Philadelphia, PA office to address complications as they arise.
When Can Hormonal Changes Lead to Poor Gum Health?
There are several times throughout a woman’s life that she may experience hormonal changes that affect her gum health. These hormonal changes, coupled with poor oral hygiene could lead to gingivitis and eventually gum disease.
During puberty, there is a surge in estrogen and progesterone. This can lead to increased blood flow to the gums and changes in how they react to bacteria and plaque. As a result, the gums may become red and swollen and more prone to bleeding while brushing and flossing.
The increases in progesterone during the menstrual cycle may lead to periodontal changes one to two days before a woman’s period. This phenomenon, known as menstruation gingivitis, may include bleeding gums and usually clear up within a day or two of the first date of her period.
Birth Control Pills
Hormonal birth control methods, especially progesterone-only pills, increase the risk of gingivitis and gum disease. The hormone causes exaggerated reactions to bacteria, which may lead to periodontal inflammation. Talk with Dr. Wilderman about your contraceptive use. He can evaluate your birth control method and let you know whether it will impact your periodontal health.
Significant hormonal changes take place during pregnancy. The hormone progesterone increases and fluctuates throughout the pregnancy, but expecting mothers are most at-risk between months two through eight. If you become pregnant, tell Dr. Wilderman. He may recommend more frequent cleanings and checkups during the second trimester and the early parts of the third. These appointments, along with diligent at-home oral care, can work to prevent pregnancy gingivitis.
Another point in a woman’s life in which she experiences fluctuations in hormones is during menopause. Not only are the hormones fluctuating at this time, but many women also require medications during menopause. The hormonal changes, in addition to medications, can lead to a variety of changes, including a decrease in salivary production, which may lead to dry mouth.
When suffering from persistent dry mouth, women are at a heightened risk for gum disease and tooth decay. Tell Dr. Wilderman about any medications you are taking and if you are experiencing symptoms of dry mouth. Menopausal women are also at a greater risk for bone loss in the jaw, which can result in gum recession.
Learn More about Periodontal Health
If you want to maintain your periodontal health, at-home oral care and professional cleanings and checkups are equally important. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Wilderman today to discuss in greater detail how changes in hormones may affect your periodontal health.