Women have different risk factors for gum disease than men due to hormonal fluctuations that can influence gum health. These issues can arise at many different times in a woman’s life cycle, such as during puberty, pregnancy or menopause.
A woman may need to consult with a periodontist about periodontal disease in different stages of life for a number of reasons.
Changes in hormonal levels in puberty increase blood flow to the gums, which can enhance the reaction to any irritation, potentially raising susceptibility for gum disease. This can also make the gums more sensitive and increase redness and swelling in the tissue.
Some women may develop temporary gingivitis – a mild form of gum disease – during menstruation due to hormonal fluctuations, as well.
Pregnant women should give serious consideration to their gum health, as active gum disease has been linked with a number of negative outcomes, such as pre-eclampsia, premature birth and low birth weight.
Menopause brings new challenges for women in a number of areas, including oral health. Symptoms such as burning sensations in the gums can develop. Post-menopausal women may also be at greater risk for dry mouth, which can create conditions that make it easier for disease-causing bacteria to proliferate. Furthermore, aging in itself is a risk factor for gum disease.
Women who show signs of gum disease should consult with a periodontist to learn about treatment options. Expectant mothers will need to time any dental treatments carefully in order to protect the fetus’s health and development. If you’re in the first trimester of your pregnancy, for example, it may be recommended that you wait for treatment. Ideally, women will get all necessary dental care, including periodontal treatments, prior to conceiving.
It can be easy for busy women to get off track with their home oral hygiene routines, too. Women should be extra conscientious about brushing and flossing in order to overcome any hormonal disadvantages they may have.
If you are a woman who wants to optimize your gum health, call our office to speak to one of our expert staff members about the steps you can take and the signs of problems. Patients who suspect gum disease should consult with us about possible treatments. Contact PerioNYC at 212-756-8890 to schedule your visit.