| 08/02/13

Women may find that throughout that their gum tissues change throughout their lifespan or even during their monthly cycles. These changes can be mild and unnoticeable, or hormone influences may cause their gums to be dramatically affected to where normal oral hygiene practices are not effective.

Noticing unhealthy gums

Healthy gum tissue appears smooth; typically coral colored (it may be of a darker brown pigment depending on your skin type); and have sharp points between each of the teeth, called papilla. Unhealthy gum tissue appears as rounded or blunted papilla, bleeding during brushing or flossing, and swollen margins along the teeth. Unhealthy tissue may even appear bluish or purple in color.

How pregnancy impacts oral health

Pregnancy induced gingivitis is one of the most common conditions that women experience related to how hormones affect their oral health. Even with proper maintenance, gums may bleed or swell sporadically throughout the gestation process. In rare cases, pregnancy “tumors” may even appear to develop along the gums. Although the name is more alarming than what is actually present, these tumors can appear unsightly and cause the mother to worry about what is happening to her mouth.

These symptoms almost always resolve themselves after the woman gives birth. Women that undergo ovulation induction or in vitro fertilization treatment can expect even more symptoms than that seen in pregnancy-gingivitis. These treatments use medications that are highly related to drug-induced symptoms of gum infections. Not only is bleeding, swollen gums more common, but the medications can also increase your chance of developing poor oral health such as periodontal disease.

Estrogen levels may impact oral health

High levels of estrogen during ovulation can also trigger symptoms of gingivitis. Some women have symptoms during menstruation, but because sex hormones are higher during ovulation, hormone-induced gingivitis is typically seen during that stage. On the other hand, taking birth control pills is not thought to cause any symptoms of bleeding, swollen gums.

Your dentist and hygienist are able to assess your gum tissue and let you know if the condition is plaque-induced or suspected to be from another cause. Dedicated brushing along the gumlines, and flossing below the gums each day are the best ways to ensure that you are not already prone to develop gingivitis or periodontal disease.

If your symptoms continue to persist on a chronic basis, you may be experiencing a more severe dental infection and need professional treatment. Existing infections like periodontal disease can predispose you to bone loss, premature labor and low birth weight infants.

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