Hormonal Changes and Gum Health
By Steven Kail on August 06, 2017
Women experience many unique hormonal changes throughout their lifetime. These fluctuations can affect several aspects of a woman’s health, but many are surprised to find that gum inflammation is a common side effect. Because hormonal changes and gum health are often related, many women experience signs of gingivitis or periodontal problems during certain life cycle stages, even if they are not normally prone to gum issues.
Our doctors at Premier Dental Center in Jackson, TN provide periodontal care and treatments in restorative dentistry to help combat symptoms of gingivitis and gum disease.
Women who are prone to gum problems during hormonal changes often experience gingivitis at every milestone in life. It can be concerning if symptoms pop up unexpectedly, especially if healthy gums are the norm. Hormone-induced gingivitis occurs when there is an increase in estrogen and progesterone, resulting in increased blood flow to the gums. This change can make gum tissue extremely sensitive, causing a flare-up at the first sign of plaque or bacteria.
During these hormonal shifts, more frequent cleanings can help keep bacteria at bay. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, which can cause more serious issues, such as bone resorption and tooth loss.
Research indicates there is a link between gingivitis and increased levels of sex hormones during puberty. Hormone levels, coupled with lifestyle habits, can contribute to gum problems in adolescents. Because many young adults wear braces, brushing and flossing can be more difficult. Poor oral hygiene can exacerbate the issue, resulting in swollen, bleeding gums.
Many women experience tender gums before or during their monthly period. Caused by a shift in hormones, gums can appear puffy during this time. Some women experience bleeding when brushing or flossing. These symptoms typically go away after the cycle has ended. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can be helpful in alleviating any discomfort during this time.
Approximately 60 to 75 percent of pregnant women experience hormone-induced gingivitis. The surge of progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy can result in bleeding, swollen, and tender gums. Every woman is unique, and symptoms may differ among patients. Some women notice gingivitis during the middle of their pregnancy, while others continue to experience symptoms even after the baby is born.
Most American women enter menopause between the ages of 47 and 51. Due to the fluctuations in hormones, women may experience a variety of symptoms, such as dry mouth, bleeding gums, shiny gums, or burning sensations. These symptoms may ebb and flow, or they may be chronic. Finding the right dental therapy during this time can help alleviate some of the discomfort.
How to Maintain Healthy Gums During Life Cycle Changes
Gum problems are quite common in women during hormonal changes, and should not be a cause for alarm. However, in order to prevent more serious issues from developing, an oral hygiene regimen should be initiated to help prevent and treat these problems. Our doctors can help determine a treatment plan that is right for your situation.
Here are a few additional things that will help maintain healthy gums during hormone fluctuations:
- Brushing after every meal
- Thorough flossing at least once a day
- Regular dental cleanings
- Routine examinations
Schedule a Consultation Today
If you are experiencing gum problems of any kind, schedule a visit with one of our doctors. You can call our office at (731) 300-3000, or contact us online anytime.
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