As a woman, you may encounter unique oral health problems that men do not face, and many are related to the hormone fluctuations you encounter throughout your monthly cycle or contraceptives you may take. Read on to find out just what these potential problems are and what to do about them.
1. Menstruation Gingivitis
It is important to recognize the signs of menstruation gingivitis, because without knowing what it is and why it occurs, you may worry more than necessary over seemingly random periods of gum inflammation. Next time your gums seem to randomly bleed when flossing or become sore for no apparent reason, check the calendar to see if your monthly period is arriving soon.
If these issues occur every month (or only some months) right around this same time, then you likely have menstruation gingivitis. This occurs because your body's natural levels of two hormones called progesterone and estrogen become much higher just before menstruation. When these hormone levels are high, they can cause your gum tissue to become more sensitive to the presence of plaque, and this can lead to otherwise healthy gum tissue becoming inflamed. When your period begins, levels of these hormones drop, and this should cause the irritation to quickly cease just after your period begins.
The good news is that if you experience menstruation gingivitis, there is little reason to worry that you have gum disease as long as you are taking proper care of your teeth and your gums are healthy during all other times of the month. However, keeping your teeth as free of plaque as possible with regular professional dental cleanings, daily flossing, and brushing properly can help minimize these symptoms.
2. Pill Problems
If you take a birth control pill that contains progesterone and/or estrogen, then your gums may feel sore and tender all month long. However, contraceptives can also affect your mouth in other ways. If you need to have a tooth extracted when taking oral contraceptives, then this makes you twice as likely to develop dry socket. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot that forms at the site of the extracted tooth becomes dislodged.
When you need to have a tooth extracted, make sure your dentist knows what type of contraceptive you are taking so he or she can make sure your extraction is pain-free and give you extra tips to help you avoid dry socket after the extraction. It is best to schedule a tooth extraction during the last week of "your month", which is typically when you are menstruating and taking the pills without any active ingredients. Also, be extra careful not to drink any beverages through straws or smoke cigarettes while your mouth is healing, as these are additional dry-socket risk factors.
As a woman, you have dental challenges that your hormones or contraceptives may cause. Speak to your dentist if you experience any other problems you think may be related to your monthly cycle or contraceptive use.
To learn more, contact a dentist like Barry Groder DDS.