Link between Periodontal Disease and Women’s Hormones
Health issues and medical conditions that occur in other areas of the body may affect oral health. Research is now showing a link between hormonal changes that occur in women and an increased risk for periodontal gum disease.
A woman’s sex hormones fluctuate all throughout her lifetime. Certain life stages cause increased hormones, especially during puberty and pregnancy. The use of oral contraceptives can also affect hormone levels. Menopause causes a drop in certain hormones.
When certain hormones, such as progesterone or estrogen, are increased in the body, this results in an inflammation response in the body, including in the gums. Gums become more sensitive to bacteria and plaque build-up, making it easier for affected women to develop gingivitis. Bacteria are more readily able to get underneath the gum line to start attacking bone and connective tissues that can lead to more serious periodontal gum disease. If the bacteria enter the bloodstream, this can increase the risk of bone loss, pre-term labor, low birth weight, and fetal death.
While some periodontal treatments may be performed during pregnancy, some more aggressive measures should wait until after the birth of the baby.
In addition to rigorous at-home care, it is important to maintain twice a year check-ups with our dentist in North Hollywood, even through pregnancy. When gum disease is detected early, treatments are minimal and can help reduce the risk of bone loss, damage to underlying tissues, and the need for more invasive treatments.
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