Women and Periodontal Disease

Millions of American adults suffer from some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is characterized by:

  • Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between your gums and teeth
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures

While gum disease affects 2 out of 3 adults, one particular group that may be susceptible to this disease is…women.

Women, just like men, are prone to gum disease. But, due to hormonal changes, they may find they are even more susceptible to periodontal disease or find that it worsens.


Due to an influx of hormones, girls may find that there is increased circulation of blood to the gums. This can cause the gums to become sensitive and lead to increased irritation of the gums. The gums may become red, swollen, and puffy.


Some women may experience menstruation gingivitis. Women may have red and swollen gums, bleeding while brushing and flossing, and canker sores in their mouths.

Oral Contraceptives

A common side effect of oral contraceptives is swollen gums. Please be sure to tell your dentist if you are taking birth control pills, especially if you will be receiving treatments that require additional medications, such as antibiotics.


Your dentist may suggest more frequent cleanings during pregnancy due to pregnancy gingivitis. This will help fight advanced stages of gum disease, which in recent studies have been premature births and babies with low birth weights.

Menopause and Post-Menopause

Menopausal and post-menopausal women may notice changes in their mouth, such as altered taste sensations, dry mouth, and increased sensitivity to hot and cold.

Women should be aware of the changes they notice in their oral health and share these changes with their dentist. Fighting gum disease take a life-long commitment.