Women and Periodontal Health

Throughout a woman’s life, hormonal changes affect tissue throughout the body.
Fluctuations in levels occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. At these times, the chance of periodontal disease may increase, requiring additional care to maintain optimal oral health.


Your gums and teeth are most affected during pregnancy. Between the second and eighth month, your gums may swell, bleed, and become red or tender. The best way to prevent periodontal infections during pregnancy is to begin with healthy gums and be extra vigilant with your home care. Regular or additional dental visits are a must to maintain your oral health during this important time for you and your baby.

Oral Contraceptives

Swelling, bleeding, and tenderness of the gums similar to that which occurs during pregnancy may also occur when you are taking oral contraceptives, which are synthetic hormones that mimic pregnancy. Please understand that there is a risk of drug interactions with some antibiotics with oral contraceptives – where the effectiveness of the contraceptive can be lessened.


Gingival pain, swelling and sensitivity can occasionally appear several days before menstruation. There can be bleeding of the gums, bright red swelling between the teeth and gum, or sores on the inside of the cheek. The symptoms clear up once the period has started.


Changes in the look and feel of your mouth may occur if you are menopausal or post-menopausal. Some of these are related to dryness in the mouth. A reduction in saliva creates sensitivities such as pain and burning in your gum tissue, cheeks and on your tongue as well as a salty, peppery, or sour tastes. Dry mouth has a more profound effect on the oral cavity in that the saliva that is missing is a huge protector against decay. Without that protection rampant decay can occur.

Careful oral hygiene at home and professional cleaning may relieve these symptoms. There are also saliva substitutes to treat the effects of dry mouth. Please share with us any of these problems or complications so we may provide you with the most protective treatment possible.