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Hormonal Changes and Gum Health

Craig Goldin DDS Sep 11, 2017

Woman smiling in the dental chairAs a woman, you know that hormonal changes can result in many consequences. Mood swings, weight gain, and skin breakouts are all common occurrences. However, you may not realize that hormone changes can also have alarming effects on your gum health. When your hormones surge, it affects blood flow and biochemical reactions. In turn, you will be more susceptible to gum disease.

Fortunately, when you are aware of these risks, you can take steps to prevent gum damage. On the other hand, if you are already suffering from periodontal disease, our Troy, MI team offers a number of restorative dentistry treatments. For example, since gum disease often results in tooth loss, we can provide several types of prosthetics, including both traditional and implant-supported options.

How Do Hormonal Changes Affect Your Gum Health?

When estrogen and progesterone surge, more blood will flow to your gums. In turn, the tissues will become more sensitive and irritated, prone to inflammation and bleeding. They will also be more responsive to oral bacteria, increasing your risk for periodontitis. With this condition, microbes will work their way into your gums and create pockets around your dental roots. Without appropriate care, the pockets will get larger. As the tissues recede, your teeth will rapidly loosen and eventually fall out.

When Are You Most Susceptible to Periodontal Risks?

You are most at risk for gum disease when you experience sudden, dramatic changes in your hormone levels.

  • Puberty: When young women first enter puberty, their gums may become inflamed and visibly swollen. In some cases, canker sores may appear, though they will typically go away without treatment. Such periodontal symptoms will usually disappear as a girl grows older. In the meantime, she should take extra precautions with her oral hygiene.
  • Menstruation: Though rare, you could experience gum irritation several days before your period. Swelling, canker sores, and enlarged salivary glands are also possible. Symptoms should go away once you start your period. Lingering symptoms are typically the sign of another condition. If you suffer from this type of oral sensitivity, do not schedule dental appointments immediately before your period.
  • Pregnancy: Hormone levels surge the most during pregnancy. Therefore, pregnancy gingivitis is a relatively common complaint among expectant mothers. It is particularly likely between the second and eighth months. Many women believe it is unsafe to visit the dentist when pregnant. However, it is actually very important to schedule your dental visits during this time, as they can dramatically reduce your risk for pregnancy gingivitis.
  • Birth control: Birth control pills, particularly oral contraceptives, dramatically alter your hormone levels. Accordingly, if you are taking these medications, you may face the same periodontal risks as pregnant women. Furthermore, a recent study in the Journal of the American Dental Association indicated that women on birth control face a higher risk for dry socket following a tooth extraction.
  • Menopause: Menopause causes a decrease in hormones. Consequently, the effect on your gums will be different from the processes described above. As you get older, you may begin to suffer from dry mouth, which can cause a burning or cotton-like sensation. In addition, your body will not be able to flush away bacteria and food particles. As a result, you will have a greater risk for gum disease, cavities, tooth loss, and bone loss.

Treatment If You Have Already Sustained Damage

Of course, our first goal is to prevent hormone-related damage by providing routine cleanings and helping you to improve your oral hygiene at home. Nevertheless, we know that dental damage may still occur, and we are committed to providing the most effective care possible.

We will begin by removing bacteria, often during a treatment called scaling and root planing. During this process, we will also smooth down your dental roots, buffing away rough patches that can trap bacteria.

Then, if you have sustained tooth loss, we will provide an appropriate restoration. Dental implants are the most advanced and lifelike solution since they will replace both the roots and the crowns of your teeth. Our experienced team can perform implant surgery and attach your prosthetic all in one location.

Contact Cosmetic Dentistry Institute

We are committed to providing high-quality dental care to women of all ages. Whether you are looking to prevent hormone-related dental problems or you are already suffering from periodontal disease, contact our office today. We will provide personalized care based on your unique needs.

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