When you think about oral health, the first thing that usually comes in mind is tooth decay. But it is essential to pay attention to the gums as well. Gingivitis and other gum diseases are quite a common oral occurrence. They are more common in females as compared to males.
Hormonal changes in women make them prone to development of gingival and periodontal diseases at certain phases of their life. Hormones can impact the health of the gums in two ways. It affects the blood supply to the gums and changes the body’s response to toxins secreted by the bacterial plaque in the mouth. These events result in the development of gingivitis.
One of the first signs of gum disease is a change in the color of the gingiva. Red gums are usually an indicator of gingival inflammation. Some of the hormonal changes that often cause red gums in females include puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
Regular dental visits at such phases of life become a crucial part of maintaining good oral health. Let’s dive into the article and learn more about the occurrence of red gums in females, its causes and treatment.
What does healthy gingiva look like?
Healthy gums are typically coral pink in color but may have some pigmentations depending on the ethnic origin of an individual.
Healthy gum act as a lining of the oral tissue that covers the alveolar bone. It forms a tight seal around the teeth. This arrangement limits the growth of plaque and bacteria.
Any change in the oral cavity or body systems, contribute to changes in the color and structure of the gums.
Gum diseases and inflammations are prevalent in females due to the hormonal changes that they experience at certain stages of life. The first warning sign is seen in the form of redness around the gums.
What causes red gums in females?
International Journal of Dentistry revealed that hormonal fluctuations during five significant phases of a female’s life severely affect the health of the gums.
The five phases are as follows –
Reaching puberty is one of the milestones in every human’s life, especially in females. The surge in production of estrogen and progesterone is one of the contributing factors in causing red gums. (1)
These female hormones typically cause redness of the gums in two ways –
- They increase the blood supply to the gums
- They change the response of gums towards oral irritants like plaque and bacteria
Such events make the gums red, swollen and tender. The gums become prone to bleeding during brushing.
Regular visits to the dentist and maintenance of good oral hygiene may help to keep the gum inflammation under control.
While most of the women may experience bodily changes just before menstruation, some of them may notice changes in the gingiva. (2)
Females who are just about to get their period may see red, inflamed gums. Often the gums may be tender to touch and bleed easily while brushing and flossing.
Menstruation gingivitis is a common oral occurrence. It is caused by the increased blood levels of estrogen, a few days before the start of menstruation cycle.
Menstruation gingivitis usually subsides once the cycle starts and can be taken care off by good oral health routine.
Considerable changes in the hormones during pregnancy increase the risk of gum inflammations. Increased progesterone levels in the blood especially during the second to the eighth month of pregnancy contribute to gingivitis.
The gums become red and tender. The swelling of the gums is usually generalized. Such type of gingivitis is referred to as Pregnancy Gingivitis. (3)
Professional dental treatments are not carried out during the third trimester. Therefore, an early visit to the dentist may aid in maintaining good oral health.
If the gingivitis has progressed, a dentist may prescribe an antibiotic which is suitable to take during pregnancy. Antibiotic will help to control the oral infection for the time being. (4)
Consequences of advanced age have a significant effect on gingival health. Menopausal Gingivostomatitis is one of the unique gum condition that occurs in menopausal women.
Menopausal gingivostomatitis causes atrophy of the oral mucosa. The destruction of the oral tissue includes gums and the periodontium. (5)
Common symptoms of menopausal gingivostomatitis may consist of –
- Dry mouth
- Redness in gums
- Bleeding of gums
- Inflammation in the oral tissue
Oral contraceptive pills
The levels of progesterone in the contraceptive pills cause inflammation and increased blood flow to the gums. As a result, the gums look red and swollen. The duration usage also plays a significant role in causing gum inflammations. (6)
Use of antibiotics to cure oral infections can negatively affect the functions of birth control pills. Antibiotics decrease the efficiency of birth control pills.
It is essential to inform a dentist about the use of contraceptive pills before you start a course of antibiotics. The dentist will then prescribe a medication that may be suitable for your situation.
How can you prevent gum diseases?
Regular dental visits are mandatory for women, at least during these five phases of their life. Professional dental examination and treatment can effectively reduce the inflammation of the gums and reverse it maintain oral health.
In addition to this, you can follow simple preventive measures to aid in maintaining good oral hygiene at home –
- Brush your teeth regularly, at least two times a day
- Flossing is essential
- Replace your toothbrush in every three months to prevent damage to the gums by worn our bristles
- Add an antibacterial mouthwash in your dental routine
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Ask your dentist for any additional preventive treatments
Take away message
Gingivitis and gum diseases are increasing rapidly among the populations. Unfortunately, women are at a higher risk due to the hormonal fluctuations.
Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, and menstruation directly impacts the health of the gums.
Most of the factors cause increased blood flow to the gums that reflect as red gums in the mouth.
In addition to this, the hormonal changes in the gums also allow increased accumulation of plaque and bacteria.
It is essential to take regular care of your oral health and seek help from a dentist to stay informed about the developing signs and symptoms.