Women and Gum Disease

Puberty


Increased level of sex hormones, such as progesterone and possibly estrogen, causes increased blood circulation to the gums.  This change in blood flow may increase the gum's sensitivity and potentiate their reaction to any irritation, including food particles and plaque.  During this time, the gums may become swollen, turn red and feel tender.


Menstruation


During menstruation, the body goes through a roller coaster of hormonal changes.  Some women will react to this by experiencing menstruation gingivitis.  Women with this condition may experience a myriad of symptoms from bleeding gums, bright red and puffy gums to sores on the inside of the cheek. Menstruation gingivitis typically begins right before a woman's period and clears up once her period has started.


Pregnancy


Pregnancy causes dramatic hormonal changes that increase the risk for developing conditions like gingivitis and periodontitis.  As a result of varying hormone levels, between more than half of women will develop gingivitis sometime during their pregnancy, a condition known as pregnancy gingivitis.  The increased level of progesterone in pregnancy may make it easier for certain periodontitis causing bacteria to grow and exaggerate the body's response to the toxins that result from plaque.  


If left untreated, gingivitis may progress to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis during pregnancy may increase the chance of preterm birth and low birth weight, affecting your baby’s health.  In fact, if you already have active gum disease, being pregnant may exacerbate the condition.


Menopause And Post-Menopause


Women who are menopausal or post-menopausal may experience unpleasant changes in their mouths. They may find greater oral discomfort especially pain and burning sensations that area frequently associated with dry mouth as well as altered taste, especially salty, peppery or sour.


In addition, menopausal gingivostomatitis affects a small percentage of women.  This condition features dry or shiny gums that bleed easily and range from abnormally pale to deep red.  Most women found estrogen supplements help relieve these annoying symptoms. 



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