We all go through a life cycle beginning from the time we are born, start taking our first steps, running around as toddlers, becoming teenagers, working grown-ups and eventually maturing into older adults. As women age, the state of their gums will fluctuate according to hormone levels, particularly from adolescence until menopause.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, gum conditions will change along with the changes in each phase of life. There are four main stages which ladies should pay more attention to:
- Puberty stage
During puberty, sex hormones such as progesterone and estrogen will increase and leading to more sensitivity in the gums. The gums may become swollen and reddish.
- Menstruation stage
According to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, several women experienced oral problems during pre-menstruation, especially in the gum area such as bleeding gums, ulcers, reddish gums, and other oral complications.
- Pregnancy Period
There are some dental conditions which all mothers-to-be should note:
- tooth erosion
- dry mouth
- excessive saliva, and
- pregnancy gingivitis.
The Columbia University, College of Dental Medicine has found that the frequency of vomiting is related to the degree of tooth erosion – the more frequently a person throws up, the worse the erosion of tooth enamel. You can also refer to our blog post on eating disorders for more information on this.
For those experiencing dry mouth, the effects can be minimized by consuming lots of liquids. There are also certain gels in the marketplace that assist in creating artificial saliva.
‘Pregnancy gingivitis’ may be experienced by some pregnant women – this is a condition which refers to swollen and bleeding gums. Flossing, brushing teeth, and thorough dental cleaning by a periodontist may help to reduce the gum swelling.
In some cases, the gum swelling may become larger, giving rise to the condition known as ‘pregnancy tumour’ – rest assured, this is not cancerous and will usually resolve after delivery of the baby when the hormone level is normalized.
We recommend that all ladies planning to start a family get their dental health in order right from the beginning. Read Specialist Dental Group’s blog post on “Pregnancy and the State of Your Gums” for more information on the relationship between gum disease and pregnancy complications, such as premature birth.
- Menopause and Post-Menopause
Older women who are in their menopause and post-menopause period may also experience some oral discomfort due to a decreased level of estrogen. Symptoms include dry mouth, burning sensations in the gum tissue, and changes in their taste bud.
A research which was conducted recently by the University of Adelaide (Australia), Colgate Australian Clinical Dental Research Centre has shown that bone loss (osteoporosis) plays a part in the increased risk of gum disease. Thus, taking supplements to increase their bone density may help.
All in all, a proper daily home care and professional maintenance (6-monthly check up) with a periodontist would be helpful to as a preventive measure.
Consult your dental specialist as soon as possible when the oral complications persist. Do remember, that prevention is always better than cure. For more information about gum treatment, visit the Specialist Dental Group website.
Do you have stories to share about how your gums were affected during pregnancy or other stages in your life? We would love to hear them !