Throughout a woman’s life, hormonal changes affect tissue throughout the body. Fluctuations in levels occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. At these times, the chance of periodontal disease may increase, requiring special care of your oral health. Please visit, www.perio.org
Changes in the look and feel of your mouth may occur if you are menopausal or post-menopausal. They include feeling pain and burning in your gum tissue and salty, peppery or sour tastes. Careful oral hygiene at home and professional cleaning may relieve these symptoms.
Should you notice dry mouth, please consult your dentist or periodontist. Dry mouth can lead to decay and periodontal disease. There are also saliva substitutes to treat the effects of “dry mouth”. Please visit, www.perio.org
Similar symptoms occasionally appear several days before menstruation. There can be bleeding of the gums, bright red swelling between the teeth and gum, or sores on the inside of the cheek. The symptoms clear up once the period has started. As the amount of hormones decrease, so do these problems. Please visit, www.perio.org
During puberty, there is an increased production of hormones. These higher levels increase gum sensitivity and lead to greater irritations from plaque and food particles. The gums can become swollen, turn red and feel tender. Overtime, with poor plaque control, chronic periodontal disease can develop. Please visit, www.perio.org
Your gums and teeth are also affected during pregnancy. Between the second and eighth month, your gums may also swell, bleed and become red or tender. Large lumps may appear as a reaction to local irritants. However, these growths are generally painless and non-cancerous. They may require professional removal, but usually disappear after pregnancy. Periodontal health should be part of your prenatal care. Any infections during pregnancy, including periodontal infections, can place a baby’s health at risk.
The best way to prevent periodonal infections is to begin with healthy gums and continue to maintain your oral health with proper home care and careful professional monitoring. In some situations, more frequent cleaning may be needed. Please visit, www.perio.org
Swelling, bleeding and tenderness of the gums may also occur when you are taking oral contraceptives, which are synthetic hormones. You must mention any prescriptions you are taking, including oral contraceptives, prior to medical or dental treatment. This will help eliminate risk of drug interactions, such as antibiotics with oral contraceptives – where the effectiveness of the contraceptive can be lessened. Please visit, www.perio.org
Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which bones are thin and weakened. Researchers have suggested a link between osteoporosis and tooth loss do to decreases in bone density. Thus, the prevention of inflammatory periodontal disease is important if you are prone to osteoporosis. Please visit, www. nof.org.
Patrick J. Morris DDS MS