What Women Need to Know About Their Gums - Dr. Peter Copp

Three out of of us will be affected by gum disease but women are at a higher risk of of gum problems at certain times in their lives.

Hormone changes can affect the blood supply to the gums and the exaggerate the response of the gums to irritants such as plaque.

Gum disease is a very common infection of the gums and the bone supporting your teeth. the infection is from the bio-film that grows on everyone's teeth always. This plaque needs to be disrupted mechanically by brushing and flossing every day to minimize risk and infection. Various mouth rinses are not effective if used without  first brushing and cleaning between the teeth with floss or other inter-dental cleaning devices such as small proxy-brushes or soft-picks.

The bacteria in undisturbed plaque produce toxins that irritates the gums. In early stages the gums swell a bit, turn red from pink and bleed easily to simple stimulation such as brushing or flossing. Later these toxins cause the gums to melt away from the tooth leaving a gum pocket. In later stages the supporting bone melts away. When enough bone is lost the tooth becomes slightly loose indicating it will likely be lost soon.

Teen-age Women

As girls reach puberty, progesterone and estrogen increase and have affects on many parts of the body. For gum tissue these hormones exaggerate the irritation response of the gums. It is not uncommon for girls of this age to suffer from gums that bleed easily, are puffy and tender. Elevate cleaning efforts and special rinses we can prescribe will help most cases that need ore help.

Monthly Cycle

During menstruation some women do not notice any changes in their mouths at all. But others often experience swollen gums, canker sores, swollen salivary glands and bleeding gums in the days just before the period begins. If you are one of these women we have rinses and treatments that help.

Oral Contraceptives

It is common for women who take birth control pills to experience inflamed gums. The hormone in the pill increases progesterone in your system resulting in greater sensitivity to the toxins from plaque.


In pregnancy your body’s hormone levels rise considerably. Gum problems tend to peak during the second to eighth months of pregnancy. Some pink on your brush is almost to be expected. Perhaps this is where the old wives’ tale of “a tooth for every child’ came from! Having more frequent professional cleaning and even more rigorous home care is the best strategy.