Hormones have an impact on your gum health that may put women at a greater risk for gum disease than men. Changes in hormone levels can change blood flow to the gums, and may affect the way that your body responds to irritants such as plaque. Although men and women both experience hormone fluctuations, men usually have more mild changes that do not have as significant of a physical impact as those experienced by women. Hormonal changes in women often cause gingivitis, swelling and bleeding of the gums. Without proper treatment, gingivitis can develop into more serious gum disease called periodontal disease.

Growing Up With Gum Health

Puberty is an awkward time of change that everyone goes through. As your body fires up the sex hormones, you experience a series of physical changes from pimples to hair sprouting where none grew before. For young women, an increase in estrogen and other sex hormones causes increased blood flow to the gums. Your gums may become swollen and more sensitive toward irritants such as food particles and bacteria. Monitor your gums for signs of gingivitis that could indicate a buildup of plaque. Cleaning away these buildups is essential for preventing periodontal disease.

Young women also begin their menstrual cycle during puberty. Some women experience gum bleeding and swelling during menstruation. Women who experience this menstrual gingivitis typically see symptoms before their period, and symptoms usually stop when their period begins.

The Relationship Between Pregnancy and Gum Disease

Pregnant woman wearing a blue dressDuring pregnancy, your hormones change again while your baby develops. Pregnant women may experience similar gum swelling and sensitivity to young women going through puberty. During this time, it is especially important to practice diligent oral hygiene to prevent this pregnancy gingivitis from advancing into periodontal disease. Protecting yourself from this irreversible disease may also protect your baby. Studies have found a potential link between periodontal disease and low birth weight.

In addition to gingivitis, some women develop what is known as pyogenic granuloma on their gums. These benign nodules, commonly known as pregnancy tumors, are not gum disease or cancer. They are caused by gum irritation, and should be monitored for signs of infection such as tenderness, bleeding, or increased swelling. Home or professional oral hygiene should be able to remove any irritant causing a pregnancy tumor to form.

Hot Flashes and Your Gums

When you hit menopause, your body stops producing high levels of sex hormones like estrogen. This sudden drop can cause a lot of physical change in a short period of time. Like other hormonal changes, menopause may impact your gum health.

Treating Gum Disease

Regular oral hygiene is your best defense against gingivitis and periodontal disease. Brushing and flossing at least twice a day paired with professional cleanings every 6 months could protect your oral health. Once it starts, gum disease is irreversible and can cause bad breath, tooth sensitivity, and bone damage resulting in tooth loss. Gum disease has also been linked to other health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Early detection is important for treatment before severe damage occurs. The progression of periodontal disease can be slowed through gum therapy. Using scaling, root planing, or laser procedures, we can remove plaque buildup from under your gums. A gum therapy appointment could save your teeth.

For more information about preventing or fighting gum disease, please contact Advanced Dentistry of Mohegan Lake today.