Periodontal Disease and Women

Women have unique health care needs. These needs change with your body; during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause for example. Your oral health and overall health is connected. Hormonal fluctuations throughout a women's life can affect many tissues including gum tissue. These changes may increase susceptibility to Periodontal Disease and require you to take special care of your health.
Puberty and Menstruation
As a young woman matures, the production of sex hormones increases. The increase in the hormone levels can cause an increase in the gums sensitivity and greater reaction to irritation such as plaque. Gums can become red, swollen and tender.
Some women experience similar symptoms 3-4 days prior to their period. These women experience Menstruation Gingivitis, which is increased bleeding and swelling of the gums or sores in the cheeks right before the period has started. It is important to maintain good hygiene during these periods of hormonal fluctuations so that the gum and bone surrounding the teeth are not damaged. Sometimes periodontal treatment is needed.
Pregnancy and Oral Contraceptives
Teeth and gums are affected by pregnancy. Pregnancy Gingivitis is the most common periodontal disease experienced by pregnant women. This usually begins during the second or third month of pregnancy and increases in severity throughout the eight month. During this time the gums become swollen, tender, red and bleed easily. In some cases, swollen gums can become pregnancy tumors which are large, red growths that bleed easily around one or more teeth. These are non cancerous and usually require removal by a periodontist. The best way to avoid gum conditions during pregnancy is to begin with healthy gums. A complete periodontal evaluation is recommended. Gum disease during pregnancy can also increase the risk of pre-term or low birth weight babies.
Birth Control Pills
Oral contraceptives can make you susceptible to the same oral health conditions that affect pregnant women. The synthetic hormones in birth control pills are designed to mimic pregnancy and may cause your gums to turn red, bleed or become swollen.  Always tell your dental or medical care provider if you are on the pill. They can help avoid the risk of drug interactions.
If you are menopausal or post menopausal your mouth may look or feel different. You may experience discomfort in your mouth including pain and burning sensations in the gum tissue and altered taste especially salty, peppery and sour.
Menopausal Gingivostomatitis
Is a rare condition that is marked by gums that look dry or shiny, bleed easily and range from pale to deep red. During this period is a womens life, professional cleanings and diligent home care is critical.