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Women’s Health and Gum Disease

Gum disease is a condition that affects the soft tissues of the gums. In its earliest stages, gum disease will cause bleeding or redness and inflammation of the gum tissue. Dentists call this stage “gingivitis,” which is common and treatable. However, the condition will continue to progress without treatment. Unfortunately, advanced gum disease can cause gum recession, infection, and tooth loss. 

One of the main contributors to gum disease is plaque. It is a form of harmful bacteria that naturally grows in the mouth. If it remains untouched, it can cause damage to your teeth and gum. This is why brushing and flossing are essential parts of your oral health routine. If you can remove plaque, it will harden to tartar, making it nearly impossible to remove without professional help

However, plaque is not the only way a person can develop gum disease. Some people are naturally more inclined to gum disease, meaning it is genetic. If you have a family history of gum disease, you are more likely to have it yourself. Additionally, vitamin deficiencies can also cause gum disease. For example, vitamin K and vitamin C are essential for defending against gum infection. 

Another common reason for gum disease is hormonal fluctuation. When your body goes through massive changes, your gums become more sensitive to gum disease. For women, this can be a lifelong issue. During the span of their lives, they experience many different hormonal changes. This leaves women more susceptible to gum disease. 

woman cleaning face with cotton pad looking in mirror at bathroom gum disease women's health dentist in Doylestown Pennsylvania


During puberty, there is a surge of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are responsible for supporting the reproductive system. However, they also play a role in your bone, heart, skin, and brain health. While these are necessary hormones, they can also make the gum tissue more sensitive when there is a surge in production. Sensitivity can make your gums red and tender. 


A woman’s hormones can fluctuate throughout their menstrual cycle. Their levels of progesterone and estrogen can fluctuate throughout the month. Just before the period, you can develop “menstruation gingivitis,” which is a span of time where the gums may bleed or become sensitive. Typically, it will reside after the period starts. 

Pregnancy or Oral Contraceptives

During pregnancy, there is an increase in progesterone. Additionally, taking oral contraceptives (birth control pills) also raises your progesterone levels. Progesterone makes your gums more prone to gum infection. This means that you have a higher possibility of developing gingivitis while pregnant or on birth control. 


Menopause is a period in women’s lives where they produce less estrogen. While this can have numerous effects on their bones and reproductive system, it can also affect their oral health. One of these effects is reduced production of saliva. This is a condition known as “dry mouth.” Without enough saliva, you are more susceptible to developing tooth decay and gum disease. This is because saliva helps neutralize the harmful effects of plaque.