Women and Periodontal Disease

As a woman, you have unique health care needs. These needs change with your body during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. Therefore, you need to take special care of yourself or ask the advice from a health care professional.

Hormonal fluctuations throughout a woman’s life can affect many tissues, including the gums. These changes may increase a woman’s susceptibility to periodontal disease, and make it necessary for you to take special care of your oral health.

Menstruation Gingivitis

The production of a young woman’s progesterone and estrogen levels increase with maturity. With these elevated hormone levels, there may be an increase in gum sensitivity accompanied by increased irritation due to food and plaque particles. The gums may become swollen, turn red, and may even feel tender to touch. In addition, there may be bleeding and sores on the inside of the cheek. Some women may experience these symptoms approximately 4 days prior to their period.

Menstruation gingivitis may occur right before a woman’s period and clears up once her period has started. During this time, it is very important to maintain oral health both at home and with regular dental visits.

Pregnancy Gingivitis

This condition may begin in the second and third month of pregnancy and may increase in severity in the eighth month. There may be notable swelling, tenderness, redness and bleeding gums. In some cases, gums swollen by pregnancy gingivitis may react with irritants and form large bumps called pregnancy tumors. These are not cancerous and are generally painless!

Pre-Term Low Weight Babies

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, then you need to know that periodontal health can affect the health of your baby. Studies show that any infection during pregnancy, such as gum disease, is cause for concern. Periodontal disease during pregnancy may place you at higher risk of delivering a premature, low birth weight baby.

Don’t take the risk. Include periodontal health in your pre-natal care.

Oral Contraceptive and Gingivitis

Synthetic hormones in oral contraceptives are designed to mimic pregnancy and may cause your gums to turn red, bleed and swell. By including personal and professional care into your life, you ensure the health of your gums and supporting tissues of your teeth for a lifetime

Menopausal Gingivostomatitis

Women who are menopausal or post-menopausal may notice a change in the way their mouths look and feel. There may be burning sensation in the gum tissues as well as altered taste sensation. Estrogen supplements help to relieve these symptoms. Also, saliva substitutes help lessen the effects of “dry” mouth. During this period of a woman’s life, diligent home care and regular professional cleanings are essential to maintain oral health and comfort. Dr. Caplanis will be happy to give you additional information about women and periodontal disease.

You may also wish to visit The American Academy of Periodontology’s Web site at www.perio. org.

What is Scaling and Root planing?

Scaling and root planing is the non-surgical technique that removes plaque and tartar from below the gumline using specially designed instruments. For detailed information regarding this procedure, please click here.

Symptoms of periodontal disease

  • handred, swollen, bleeding gum
  • bad breath
  • tooth sensitivity

It might surprise you to know that ongoing swelling or bleeding gums are indicators of periodontal disease. This disease is a serious condition that can lead to the loss of teeth, so it is in your best interest to be aware of the symptoms. If you discover that you have been experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it is important to see a periodontal professional as soon as possible in order to maintain healthy and natural teeth.

For more information about periodontal disease and periodontists — experts in the diagnosis and treatment of gum and periodontal diseases — call 949/830-1322.