International Women’s Health Day from the Art of Cosmetic Dentistry

In honor of International Women’s Health Day we would like to examine the effect hormones play in a woman’s oral health. While the majority of female patients have good home care, they can still suffer from bleeding gums. This is due to the influence that hormones exert on the mouth. The periodontal tissue, which is made up of the gum and bone, has receptors for androgen, estrogen, and progesterone. Estrogen can affect the development of epithelium as well as the development and function of collagen which are the main components of gum tissue. Progesterone has an effect on bone formation and reabsorption. The periods when the hormonal influence on the gingiva is most pronounced are during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. In puberty the increased hormone levels can alter the subgingival bacterial flora, and produce deep red, puffy gingiva. During a woman’s menstrual cycle increased gingival bleeding can be observed. Pregnancy can produce generalized gingivitis, as well as localized irritations called granulomas. In menopause it not unusual to experience changes in the oral mucosa that results in a dry mouth, burning sensation, and an altered taste sensation. The best way to combat these hormonal influences is to maintain a good home care regimen, and keep a regular dental cleaning schedule. Always discuss any bleeding issues with your dental staff so that they can recommend any treatment that will help combat the effects of these hormonal influences.