Hormonal Imbalance and Gum Recession: How Hormones Impact Oral Health

Posted by Dr. John Paul Gallardo, DDS, PA
Do Hormone Changes Cause Gum Disease?
Hormonal changes do not cause gum disease on their own, but they can contribute to periodontal disease.

Hormones can have a wide range of effects on the body. Different phases of life throw the hormones out of whack, which is why teenagers get acne, pregnant women experience morning sickness, and menopausal women get hot flashes.

However, most individuals who experience hormone changes are not overly concerned about their teeth. Unfortunately, because hormones influence every system in the body, the resulting changes may negatively affect an individual’s oral health.

Is it true, however, that hormonal instability causes gum disease? Let’s have a look at this issue.

How Do Hormonal Changes Affect Gum Disease?

Hormonal changes do not cause gum disease on their own, but they can contribute to periodontal disease. Hormones (particularly estrogen and progesterone) influence the gums by altering blood flow to the gums and the way tissues respond to plaque in the mouth; this causes discomfort and, in some cases, bleeding when brushing or flossing.

Hormonal influences on gum health affect women more often than men since women experience more hormone changes throughout life.

While the increased risk for gum disease occurs most often during pregnancy and menopause, many women experience symptoms during puberty and right before a monthly menstrual cycle. Even women who take birth control can notice more irritation and inflammation in the gums.

Managing Hormone Levels to Address Gum Recession

Dental health is largely dependent on the levels of estrogen in the body, as these hormones play a role in regulating gum inflammation and tissue response to plaque. When estrogen levels are low, people are more at risk for gum disease and tooth loss. To help manage hormone levels, eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables is recommended. Additionally, avoiding smoking, drinking excessive alcohol, and using drugs can help keep hormone levels in check. Finally, regular dental visits can help maintain healthy teeth by catching any potential issues early on before they become more severe. By following these steps and regularly monitoring hormone levels, individuals can reduce their risk of gum recession.

Is Pregnancy A Trigger For Periodontitis (Periodontal Disease)?

Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a common problem in the United States. It occurs in about half of all adults over the age of 30.

It may seem unfair that pregnancy makes the risk for periodontal disease even higher. Unfortunately, hormonal changes are to blame for this fact. Periodontal disease begins when bacteria in plaque and tartar start to irritate the gums.

Over time, this can progress and lead to red, swollen gums, loose or missing teethbone loss, and even serious diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Pregnancy increases the chances of developing gum disease due to changes in hormone levels in the body. Increases in levels of estrogen and progesterone, in particular, affect how the gums react to harmful bacteria contained in plaque. This is why it is so important that women take care of their oral health during pregnancy.

The first signs of gingivitis and periodontal disease are:

  • swollen
  • sensitive 
  • red gums  
  • bleeding during brushing and flossing
  • dry mouth
  • bad breath 

The consequences can worsen for both you and your baby if left untreated. But how exactly does this affect your child?

How Maternal Gum Disease Can Affect Your Baby

As an expectant mother, you have a lot on your mind, and you know that your health affects your new baby’s health as well. You may be unaware that gingivitis and periodontal disease in mothers have a connection to several problems in newborns.

Studies have shown that pregnancy gingivitis and periodontal disease have been associated with preterm delivery and low birth weight. Research indicates that this has to do with the bacteria that enter the bloodstream through the gums, affecting the reproductive system.

However, pregnant women with periodontal disease are at increased risk for these and other problems.

The Link Between Pregnancy Tumors And Periodontal Disease

Pregnancy tumors sound terrifying to most expectant mothers but are a common symptom of gingivitis and gum disease during pregnancy. Pregnancy tumors most commonly appear during the second trimester, though they can form at any time during pregnancy.

The tumors appear as lumps in the gum, usually near the top gum line, and are red, often glistening. They can bleed, crust over, and be very uncomfortable for women who develop them.

They occur in about 10% of pregnant women and are non-cancerous. They are simply an inflammatory response to oral bacteria and food particles, exaggerated by pregnancy hormones. While many pregnancy tumors will go away on their own, others may need to be removed by a dentist. Unfortunately, they sometimes reappear after removal and must be handled.

Birth control pills can also have an effect on gum health, as they contain female hormones that can affect oral inflammation. Women who take birth control pills should be sure to brush and floss regularly, as well as visit their dentist for regular checkups, in order to keep their gums healthy.

Are There Any Ways To Prevent These Effects?

While it’s not always possible to prevent pregnancy-related gingivitis and periodontal disease, there are steps you can take to help reduce risks.

Practicing diligent oral hygiene is the best way to fight periodontal disease, whether or not you are pregnant. Brushing at least twice a day (using the proper techniques), flossing daily, and regular visits to the dentist will help keep your gums healthy and prevent inflammation.

If you do start to develop symptoms like redness and bleeding gums, your dentist can perform treatments like a deep cleaning and gum disease mouthwash to help restore your gum health.

People undergoing hormonal changes or hormone treatments must be particularly careful with their oral health. Women who are either pregnant, menopausal, or on hormonal birth control should pay special attention to brushing and flossing regularly and schedule regular dental cleanings to monitor for periodontal disease.

Some specialists recommend making an appointment with the dentist every three months throughout pregnancy to help prevent gum disease.

Rinsing the mouth with baking soda can help remove some acids that contribute to gum issues. Women should ask their dentists for specific tips to help prevent oral issues during pregnancy or menopause.

If Worried, Try Talking To An Expert Today!

If you think you might be seeing early signs of periodontal disease, it’s important to schedule a dentist appointment. If caught early, gum disease is much easier to treat than if the disease is allowed to become more advanced.

Regular cleanings and dental exams will help keep gum disease in check. So, even if you’re not worried about periodontal issues, it’s important to stay proactive. Sometimes, gum disease does not produce alarming symptoms at first.

Need an expert in gum health? John P. Gallardo, DDS, PA, is renowned for his knowledge and expertise in periodontal disease treatment. He can assure the utmost care for all expecting mothers or patients undergoing hormonal changes. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, fill out our contact form below. We’re happy to help you!

FAQS about Hormone and Gum recession

Can menopause cause receding gums?

Yes, menopause can cause receding gums. Due to the drop in estrogen during the menopausal transition, the gums may become more susceptible to inflammation and gum recession. Regular dental checkups and good oral hygiene are important for keeping your gums healthy during this time.

What are mouth symptoms of menopause?

Common menopausal symptoms in the mouth include dryness, burning, and soreness.

Can Hormone cause gum problems?

Yes, hormones can cause gum problems. Hormonal changes can increase the risk of gum disease, as they can affect oral inflammation and make gums more susceptible to infection. It’s important to practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly in order to reduce the risk of gum disease.

What diseases can cause receding gums?

Receding gums can be caused by a variety of diseases, including periodontal disease, gingivitis, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and autoimmune disorders. Poor oral hygiene can also contribute to gum recession.

Which vitamin deficiency is associated with gingivitis?

Vitamin C deficiency is known to increase the risk for gingivitis. This can be due to a weakened immune system which makes it more difficult to fight off bacteria in the mouth. Eating foods high in vitamin C, like oranges and strawberries, can help keep your gums healthy and prevent gingivitis.