Women’s Oral Health: Hormonal Fluctuations and Poor Gum Health
A woman is at a greater risk of poor gum health due to the numerous hormonal fluctuations that take place throughout her lifetime. At Astoria Dental Group in Queens, NY, our dentists understand these risks and offer women several general dentistry tips to keep their gums healthy during every stage of their lives. Below are the various hormonal fluctuations that can cause poor gum health and steps a woman can take to minimize her risk.
When a young woman enters puberty, the production of estrogen and progesterone increases significantly. The increase in these hormones may also increase blood flow to oral tissues like the gums. This may change the way the gums react to plaque, causing irritation, inflammation, and tenderness. Young women may notice their gums bleed more when the brush and floss during puberty. To prevent gum disease, they should maintain a nutritious diet and a diligent oral hygiene regimen, which should include regular dental cleanings and exams.
In the days leading up to a woman’s period, progesterone increases, which can cause many of the same concerns as seen with the hormonal changes that take place during puberty. This condition is known as menstruation gingivitis and usually clears up a day or two after a woman starts her period. Regular at home and professional oral care will prevent menstruation gingivitis from turning into gum disease.
Certain hormonal birth controls, particularly progesterone-only oral contraceptives, can cause gum inflammation. Women are encouraged to tell their dentist about the birth control method they are using. This allows the dentist to make recommendations for a woman’s oral health based on her particular type of contraception.
Pregnant women are at risk of developing pregnancy gingivitis as a result of the increased levels of progesterone and other hormones. The risk of gingivitis is particularly high between the second and eighth months of pregnancy. Women should notify their dentists if they become pregnant. In addition to maintaining a healthy diet and diligent at-home oral hygiene routine, women may need to have more frequent checkups and cleanings during the second and third trimesters.
The hormonal changes during menopause can lead to a variety of oral health complications. Women may suffer from dry mouth, tooth sensitivity, and more. Some of the medications frequently prescribed for women going through menopause may also increase the risk for poor gum health. Women should discuss how these changes will affect their oral health with their dentist. Changes in medication may be necessary, in addition to regular brushing and flossing, and twice-yearly exams and cleanings.
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Although the many hormonal changes that take place during a woman’s life put her at greater risk for developing conditions such as gum disease, there are plenty of steps she can take to minimize her risk. If you are concerned about your risk for gum disease or other complications, contact Astoria Dental Group to schedule an appointment.