When one thinks of women's health issues, periodontal disease may not immediately come to mind. After all, periodontal disease can affect many different demographics. However, one survey said that medical providers should raise awareness about periodontal health because hormone fluctuations can affect the overall health of the periodontium. The periodontium includes gum tissue, ligaments, and alveolar bone. Here are three scenarios where women could be more prone to periodontal issues.
As progesterone increases during a women's menstrual cycle, some women may experience what's known as menstruation gingivitis. Symptoms of this gingivitis include swollen gums, bleeding gums, and/or canker sores. The good news is that menstrual gingivitis is usually temporary and should clear up as your period goes on. Gingivitis shouldn't develop into more serious periodontal issues as long as you are maintaining good brushing and flossing habits. If the gingivitis doesn't improve, then you should see your dentist. If you decide to use an oral contraceptive to ease menstrual pains, keep in mind that birth control pills still contain progesterone, so you could still develop temporary inflammation in the gum tissue.
During pregnancy, hormones can cause changes in oral bacteria and eating habits, which could increase the risk of periodontal issues. The CDC says that between 60% to 75% of pregnant women can experience gingivitis. If gingivitis advances to periodontal disease, it can increase the risk of poor pregnancy outcomes, such as an early birth or a low birth weight. Some pregnant women may be hesitant to visit their dentist during pregnancy, but the ADA says that preventative care is safe. As long as your dentist knows you are pregnant and has your updated health history, they can make recommendations regarding radiographs, local anesthetics, etc.
During menopause, hormone fluctuations can cause a decrease in saliva flow and dry mouth. Saliva actually helps to neutralize acids produced by oral bacteria, so people with dry mouth are more prone to developing decay and gum disease. Estrogen is also in decline during menopause, which can lead to a loss of bone density. This means that it's easier for the jaw bone to shrink and for gums to recede. It's easier for plaque to build up on receding gums and for gum disease to take hold. Women going through menopause may need to talk to their doctor about hormone and/or dietary supplements to improve symptoms. Some women may need more frequent cleanings or deeper scaling and root planing.
These are just a few scenarios where hormones can play a role in women's periodontal health. Reach out to a dentist for more information about periodontal disease.Share
6 June 2022
The average dentist takes many client appointments each day and also deals with emergency situations on a regular basis. Dental emergencies are very common because people are likely to put off having tooth pain fixed until the pain becomes unbearable. Some people have anxiety about dental visits, and others are trying to avoid the expense of dental care. In either case, the end result is often a dental emergency. I have worked as a professional dental hygienist for many years and have seen all types of dental emergencies. I hope that this blog will help people identify potential emergencies before they become too serious and will allow people to know when to get help.