There are a number of causes and contributing factors for periodontal disease. It is well-known that patients that do not floss and brush regularly are more at-risk for gum disease. What patients are often surprised to learn is that hormonal changes can put women at greater risk for gum disease.
While hormone imbalances sometimes result from health conditions like glandular disorders, there are a number of common and unavoidable hormonal changes that affect women throughout their lives.
Dr. Thomas Tang, an experienced dentist in Brookfield, WI, discusses gum disease and hormonal changes to help women understand how common hormonal changes can increase their risk for gum disease.
How Hormone Imbalances Affect Your Gums
Hormones regulate a range of bodily functions, including moods, appetite, sleep cycles, organ function and fertility. When hormones become imbalanced, it has a negative impact on your wellness, including periodontal health.
In particular, increased blood flow to the gums can arise due to hormone imbalances, putting you at an increased risk of gum disease.
Hormonal Changes during Puberty
During puberty, women experience surges in estrogen and progesterone. This can cause swollen or sensitive gums.
Additionally, there is a greater risk of bacteria in the mouth causing infection, and a heightened susceptibility for irritation while brushing or flossing.
Menstrual Hormonal Changes
During the latter part of a woman’s cycle, beginning with ovulation and ending with menstruation, progesterone levels are heightened.
This increases the chances of gum irritation and periodontal disease as noted above. Women may also experience dry mouth at this time due to the swelling of the salivary glands, which impact saliva production.
Hormone Changes Connected to Pregnancy
A woman’s progesterone levels steadily increase during pregnancy, peaking during the third trimester. While many people are aware of the food cravings, fatigue, nausea, mood changes, and increased blood flow during pregnancy, many do not consider the impact on their periodontal health.
The increased blood volume and blood flow to the periodontal tissues will put a woman at higher risk for periodontal disease. This is part of the reason why it is so important for pregnant women to keep up with their at-home oral hygiene practices, including brushing twice a day and flossing once a day, even when they are suffering from pregnancy nausea or fatigue.
Menopause and Hormone Changes
During menopause, progesterone and estrogen levels fall. This hormone depletion affects periodontal health. Women often experience dry mouth, further increasing their risk for gum disease and tooth decay.
Six Tips to Combat Gum Disease
Women at increased risk for developing gum disease due to hormonal changes can follow these tips to prevent periodontal disease:
- Brush your teeth twice a day minimally
- Floss your teeth once a night minimally
- Eat a healthy diet and avoid sugar and junk food
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid tobacco products
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and cleaning
Contact Us Today
If you would like more information about improving your oral health, make your appointment with Dr. Tang by calling us at (262) 821-1000. You can also send us a message online and we will get back to you shortly.