How Does My Period Affect Gum Health?

How Does My Period Affect Gum Health?

Menstruation causes many changes in a woman’s body, but did you know that it can also affect the gums?

Menstruation affects the body in so many ways. Most women experience weight gain, irritability, and food cravings in the days leading up to their period. Yet you may be surprised to learn that the menstrual cycle also impacts oral health, specifically the gums.

Menstruation gingivitis is real and refers to the hormonal changes your body undergoes before your period. Fortunately, the condition typically passes once your period ends. But it’s good to know how your period affects your gum health so you can keep your mouth healthy.

How hormones affect your gums

Menstruation gingivitis can happen even if you’re diligent about taking care of your teeth. It has everything to do with your hormones, not your oral hygiene.

About 14 days before your period begins, your body sends estrogen and progesterone hormones. In particular, your gum tissues are filled with estrogen receptors, so when the hormone floods your body, it zeroes in on the gums. 

As you get closer to your period, you may notice changes in your mouth because the hormones also increase blood flow to the gums. That surge of blood makes your gums more sensitive to existing plaque and bacteria, and your gums may become inflamed.

Therefore, it’s not unusual for your gums to look bright red before your period. Your gums may also bleed during routine brushing and flossing. You may develop canker sores as you consume more salty or acidic foods. Swollen salivary glands are also a sign of menstruation gingivitis. 

But remember, the hormonal changes follow your menstrual cycle. As the hormones recede, your gums and body return to normal, and menstruation gingivitis ends. So what can you do when you’re experiencing menstruation gingivitis?

Taking care of your teeth during your menstrual cycle

Be extra vigilant about cleaning your teeth before your period begins. Brush and floss daily to reduce the amount of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. With less bacteria and plaque, your gums won’t become as inflamed when the hormone levels rise. Although the bleeding and sensitivity make it hard to brush and floss your teeth, keep doing it diligently as your period nears. Another tip? Steer clear of sweets! Sweets supercharge bacterial and plaque growth in the mouth, so fight the cravings for sugary treats.

In fact, the best way to prevent menstruation gingivitis and reduce its symptoms is by practicing good oral hygiene throughout the month. Removing plaque and bacteria will lessen gum sensitivity during your menstrual cycle. Use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to clear away bacteria and food debris.

If you’re experiencing menstruation gingivitis, you should consider delaying any professional tooth cleaning or other dental work until your period is over. Your inflamed gums might make the procedure more painful. 

Since menstruation gingivitis is temporary, you don’t have to consult your dentist about it unless you’re concerned about the effects. However, if the gingivitis continues well after your period ends, you may be suffering from the early stages of gum disease. If that’s the case, it’s time to talk to your dentist about treatment. Early treatment for gum disease can prevent further gum deterioration and possibly tooth loss.

Healthy gums = healthy teeth!

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Oklahoma City, OK, location today! Our highly trained dentists can check your gums for any signs of gum disease and propose treatment. Don’t live near our Oklahoma City office? Find one of our other locations near you.

Oklahoma City, OK
12448 St Andrews Drive
Oklahoma City, OK 73120