& GUM DISEASE
an increased level of sex hormones, such as progesterone and possibly
estrogen, in a young woman's maturing system causes increased blood
circulation to the gums. This, in turn, may cause an increase in
the gum's sensitivity which leads to a greater susceptibility or
reaction to any irritation, including food particles, plaque bacteria
and calculus (or tarter).
The gums react
to local irritants and swell. Since the cause of this swelling is
due to local irritants, these must be removed by a dental professional.
Afterwards, careful oral home care (including brushing and flossing)
is necessary, or the swelling will return. If not treated, the bone
and tissue surrounding the teeth can be damaged.
As a young woman
progresses through puberty, the tendency for her gums to swell so
much in response to a small amount of irritants will lessen. However,
it is important that she remember to brush and floss daily and seek
regular professional dental care.
swollen, tender or bleeding gums) can be much more prevalent during
menstruation. Again, this is due to an increased amount of progesterone
in your system before your period begins, accompanied by plaque
some women experience sores or bleeding in the mouth three or four
days before their period begins. Another rare occurrence for some
women is gingivitis during menstruation, which is marked by reappearing
gingival (gum) bleeding, a bright red swelling of the gums between
the teeth and sores on the tongue and the inside of the cheek.
gingivitis usually occurs right before a woman's period and clears
up once her period has started. As always, good home oral hygiene,
including brushing and flossing, is important to maintain oral health,
especially during these hormonal fluctuations.
There used to
be an old wives tale that said, "A tooth lost for every child."
While it may seem far-fetched, it actually was based loosely in
fact. Your teeth and gums are affected by your pregnancy, just as
other tissues in your body. Most commonly, women experience increased
gingivitis beginning in the second or third month that increases
in severity through the eighth month and begins to decrease in the
ninth month. This condition, called pregnancy gingivitis, is marked
by an increased amount of swelling, bleeding and redness in the
gum tissue in response to a very small amount of plaque or calculus.
An increased level of progesterone again causes this in the system.
If your gums
are in good health before you get pregnant, you are less likely
to have any problems. Pregnancy gingivitis usually affects areas
of pervious inflammation, not healthy gum tissue. If you experienced
some swelling and bleeding of your gums before pregnancy, you might
be at an increased risk for pregnancy gingivitis.
Just like any
other type of gingivitis, if left untreated, pregnancy gingivitis
can have damaging effects on the gums and bone surrounding your
teeth, resulting in tissue (bone and gum) loss.
As there will
be a great increase of estrogen and progesterone in your system
throughout your pregnancy, you may experience more gingival problems
at this time. Because your oral tissues are more sensitive due to
increased progesterone, they will react strongly to any local irritant
In order to
reduce the amount of gingival problems, it is important to seek
a professional cleaning to remove irritants and keep up a diligent
daily home oral care routine, including brushing and flossing. Now
more than ever, regular examinations by your dentist are very important.
If your dental checkup is due, don't skip it. In fact, you might,
benefit from more frequent professional cleanings during your second
trimester or early third trimester. Remember, if tenderness, bleeding
or gum swelling occurs at any time during your pregnancy, notify
your dentist as soon as possible.
the inflamed gum tissue will form a large lump. These growths, called
pregnancy tumors, usually appear by the third month of pregnancy,
but may occur at any time during the course of pregnancy.
tumor is a large swelling of gum tissue and is not cancerous in
any way. It is an extreme inflammatory response to any local irritation
(including food particles, plaque or calculus) that may be present.
tumor usually looks like a large lump on the gum tissue with many
deep red pinpoint markings on it. The tumor is usually painless;
however, it can become painful if it interferes with your bite or
if debris collect beneath it.
If a pregnancy
tumor forms, it may be treated by professional removal of all local
irritants and diligent home oral care. Any further treatment or
removal would need to be discussed with your dentist and your obstetrician.
and pregnancy tumors usually diminish following pregnancy, but they
do not go away completely. If you experience any gum problems during
your pregnancy, it is important, upon completion of your pregnancy,
to have your entire mouth examined and your periodontal health evaluated.
Any treatment your might need can be determined at this time.
If you are taking
any oral contraceptives (birth control pills), you may be susceptible
to those same oral health conditions that affect pregnant women.
As the hormones in oral contraceptives will increase the levels
of progesterone in your system, any local irritants (food, plaque,
etc.) may cause your gums to turn red, bleed and swell. There are
many medications (for example, antibiotics) that can lessen the
effect of an oral contraceptive, so it is important for you to tell
your dentist or physician you are taking oral contraceptives, before
he or she prescribes anything for you.
For the most
part, any oral problem you have while you are in menopause probably
is not directly related to the changes going on in your body. If
you are taking estrogen supplements during this time these should
have little to no effect on your oral health. However, progesterone
supplements may increase your gum's response to local irritants,
causing the gums to bleed, turn red and swell.
On rare occasions,
a woman may experience a condition called menopausal gingivostomatitis.
Gums that are dry and shiny, bleed easily and that range in color
from abnormally pale to deep red mark this condition.
include a dry, burning sensation in the mouth, abnormal taste sensations
(especially salty, peppery or sour), extreme sensitivity to hot
or cold foods or drinks and finally, difficulty removing any partial
bridges or dentures.
If you are diagnosed
with menopausal gingivostomatitis, your dentist or periodontist
can help you manage your condition with special medications.