I’m sure we have all blamed our hormones for that crazy outburst at work, that unforgivable shopping spree and for devouring that large piece of chocolate cake in one go. But did you ever realize that often those hormones are to blame for your swollen, bleeding gums or that mouth ulcer that keeps coming back?
As women, we have to deal with hormones on a monthly basis, but they especially play a major role at four main stages in our lives- Puberty, Menstruation, Pregnancy, Menopause. And despite studies showing that women take better care of their mouths than men, our hormones (estrogen!) are out to make things difficult.For example, as many as 70% of women experience some form of tooth or gum problems during pregnancy (Acc. to the IDA)!
So here’s what you can expect:
Puberty - The surge of hormone production that occurs during puberty can increase the blood flow to the gums and change the way gum tissue reacts to irritants in plaque. As a result, a woman's gums may bleed during brushing and flossing.Menstruation: It is not uncommon for gums to swell and bleed prior to menstruation. Some women may also suffer from the formation of ulcers. These symptoms typically disappear once their period arrives.
Oral birth control: Inflamed gums are a common side effect of taking the pill. Be sure to tell your dentist if you are taking an oral contraceptive during your visit.
Pregnancy: Pregnancy gingivitis is common and can be identified by red, inflamed, and bleeding gums. If left untreated, it can increase the chance of a premature birth. The American Dental Association suggests that all pregnant women get routine dental check-ups every trimester. This is all the more important if you have a history of gestational diabetes.
Menopause: Typical mouth changes that occur during menopause are red or inflamed gums, oral pain and discomfort, burning sensations, altered taste, and dry mouth. Loss of bone density can also cause tooth loss and receding gums causing tooth decay.
So what can you do?The basic steps are really easy!
1. Eat clean, be healthy, avoid sugary/ starchy snacks
2. Brush twice a day with a fluoride containing toothpaste, floss regularly.
3. Consult your dentist if you have a history of ulcers, especially recurring ones
4. Get regular dental clean ups if you complain of swollen, bleeding gums
5. Dental check-ups are essential during pregnancy. Your doctor will inform you what treatments can and cannot be carried out during each trimester.
6. Women post 45 yrs of age should schedule yearly dental check-ups alongside their other routine medical check-ups.