Did you know that when your body secretes more female hormones (specifically, estrogen and progesterone), this can make more blood to flow to your gums? As this happens, the gums can become more sensitive to whatever might irritate them. In particular, women are more sensitive to oral plaque and harmful bacteria around the gums, which then become inflamed, swollen, and bleed. Chronic inflammation of the gums can lead to the bone loss that supports the teeth and eventually result in tooth loss.
While hormones are something you have to live with throughout your life, you can prevent gum disease from taking a toll. This means looking out for your oral health and taking extra care of the mouth when experiencing these times in your life:
–During puberty, the hormonal shift can cause a young girl’s oral tissues to swell, bleed, redden, and bring on canker sores.
–During menses, the days before your period may bring on swollen, bleeding gums, canker sores, and even swollen salivary glands.
–Taking oral contraceptives can cause invite dry socket after a tooth extraction; this is when a blood clot doesn’t develop in the tooth socket or the blood clot is dislodged during healing.
–During pregnancy, your body is inundated with hormones. This puts you at risk for pregnancy gingivitis — a mild form of gum disease that causes gums to be red, tender and sore.
–During menopause, hormones can cause altered taste, burning sensations in the mouth and increased sensitivity. What this means is that you are more prone to 1) dry mouth and 2) bone loss. Reduced saliva production means it can’t effectively rinse away the oral bacteria causing cavities. And the decrease of estrogen during menopause puts you at risk for a loss of bone density. As gums recede, more of your tooth is exposed and risks cavities.
If you notice gum issues during any of these times, please call 804-569-0530 today to seek treatment with our dentist, Dr. Jay P. Boyle. Our Boyle Dentistry team in Mechanicsville, Virginia is happy to help you transition through all of the important times in life with a healthy smile!