During puberty, an increased level of sex hormones, such as
progesterone and possibly estrogen, causes increased blood circulation
to the gums. This may cause an increase in the gum's sensitivity and
lead to a greater reaction to any irritation, including food particles
and plaque. During this time, the gums may become swollen, turn red and
Occasionally, some women experience menstruation gingivitis. Women
with this condition may experience bleeding gums, bright red and swollen
gums and sores on the inside of the cheek. Menstruation gingivitis
typically occurs right before a woman's period and clears up once her
period has started.
Some studies have suggested the possibility of an additional risk
factor – periodontal disease. Pregnant women who have periodontal
disease may be more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too
small. However, more research is needed to confirm how periodontal
disease may affect pregnancy outcomes.
All infections are cause for concern among pregnant women because
they pose a risk to the health of the baby. The Academy recommends that
women considering pregnancy have a periodontal evaluation.
Menopause and Post-Menopause
Women who are menopausal or post-menopausal may experience changes in
their mouths. They may notice discomfort in the mouth, including dry
mouth, pain and burning sensations in the gum tissue and altered taste,
especially salty, peppery or sour.
In addition, menopausal gingivostomatitis affects a small percentage
of women. Gums that look dry or shiny, bleed easily and range from
abnormally pale to deep red mark this condition. Most women find that
estrogen supplements help to relieve these symptoms.
If you have any questions or concerns about periodontal disease and its affect on pregnancy, please contact our practice.