Women and Periodontal Health
Oral Contraceptives, menstruation and pregnancy can all impact periodontal health.
Throughout a woman’s life, hormonal changes affect tissue in the body. Fluctuations in hormonal levels occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. During the chance of periodontal disease may increase, requiring special care of your oral region.
During puberty, there is increased production of sex hormones. These higher hormone levels increase gum sensitivity and lead to greater irritation from plaque and food particles. The gums can become swollen, turn red and feel tender.
Similar symptoms occasionally appear several days before menstruation. Bleeding of the gums, bright red swelling between the teeth and gum or sores on the inside of the cheek may occur. These symptoms generally clear up once the period has started.
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Your gums and teeth are also affected during pregnancy. Between the second and eighth month, 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 not cancerous. They may require professional removal, but usually disappear sometime after delivery. Periodontal health practices should be part of your prenatal care. Any infections during pregnancy, including periodontal infections, can place a baby’s health at risk. More information is available in our Pregnancy and Periodontal Disease section.
Swelling, bleeding and tenderness of the gums may also occur when you are taking oral contraceptives, which are synthetic hormones.
You should always mention any prescriptions you are taking, including oral contraceptives, prior to medical or dental treatment. This will help eliminate the risk of drug interactions, such as antibiotics with oral contraceptives, which lessens the effectiveness of the contraceptive.