Hormones Affect Periodontal Health in Females
Most people understand that changing female hormones can affect the body and the emotions in many ways, but are unaware that hormones can also impact periodontal health. Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause can all cause changes that may increase certain periodontal health risks. Being aware of these changes can help patients to take preventative measures and to understand why periodontal disease or other conditions have developed with little change in daily routines.
Puberty and Periodontal Care
When females go through puberty, the body begins to create more progesterone and estrogen. The increase in progesterone and estrogen can increase the risk of developing gingivitis, because the bacteria can feed off of these hormones to grow. The gums may begin to appear red and swollen, and may bleed very easily. Brushing, flossing, and visiting a dentist regularly can help to prevent gingivitis. In some cases, deep dental cleanings may be needed more than twice a year through puberty.
Menstruation and Periodontal Issues
Menstruation may temporarily increase certain periodontal issues such as canker sores and inflammation of the gums. This is not always the case; certain women may be more prone to these issues than others. Once menstruation begins, these problems usually begin to clear up. Oral pain relievers and good dental practices may help to relieve the pain and reduce the occurrence of these problems. If inflammation or canker sores occur frequently with menstruation, a medical professional may be able to provide prescription medication to mitigate these symptoms.
Pregnancy and Oral Health
Nearly 75 percent of all pregnant women develop gingivitis. This increased risk is due to the body responding differently during pregnancy to bacteria and plague that causes gingivitis. The risks of developing gingivitis are greater between the second month of pregnancy and the eight month. Pregnant women may also be susceptible to developing tumor-like growths in between teeth or in areas of the mouth that are harder to reach when brushing and flossing. In addition to these issues, women may have complications associated with morning sickness and acid erosion. Women may reduce the effect and occurrence of these problems by being diligent with regular oral care and rinsing with a mixture of baking soda and warm water after morning sickness.
Menopause and Oral Discomfort
Menopause causes declining hormone levels that may cause oral discomfort including pain, dryness of the mouth, changes in taste, and even burning sensations. These changes do not occur in all women, but may be prevented by taking certain steps. Avoiding sugary gums and candies and drinking plenty of water may help to avoid oral dryness and changes in taste. If the gums are burning or painful during menopause, patients may benefit from consulting an expert for solutions.