Menstruation brings with it a host of problems – period pains, nausea, heavy bleeding and what not. Seldom do we think that the problems can go beyond these regular ones. With time we get used to dealing with the same and living with the debilitating pain. But women, listen up, menstruation is not all about cramps and bleeding, the hormonal upheavals that happen during this period can set you up for dental problems too, precisely gingivitis (gum disease) or menstrual gingivitis. According to Dr Karishma Jaradi, Aesthetic Dentist – Dentzz Dental Care Centres, hormonal changes and oral health are just two sides of the same coin. Here she speaks more on the condition and how to prevent the same.
What is menstrual gingivitis?
Menstruation gingivitis is a common oral problem that women go through but hardly know about it. This happens due to hormonal fluctuations during the course of menstruation or days before you get your period. Gingival tissues or gum tissues have lots of estrogenic receptors, it’s response to the hormonal changes is rapid. During the start of your periods estrogen is at its rock-bottom, but then it starts to increase and its levels go up. As this happens, the hormones can act with the estrogen receptors in the gums and erode them.
However, not everyone suffers from this oral condition, but for people with poor dental hygiene should be wary. The bacteria which is already present in the mouth multiplies rapidly due to hormonal surges and paves the way for gum diseases, if ignored it can further lead to periodontists (tooth mobility).
What causes menstruation gingivitis?
During menstruation, there is a surge in the production of the two hormones estrogen and progesterone that increases the blood flow to the gums. In this process, the gum tissues become red, soft, swollen and tender leading to conditions like bad breath, bleeding gums, bleeding while brushing, gingival pain and discomfort while chewing hard foods. If you don’t take care of your gums the right way they become weak and this leads to gum diseases. The weak gums can also cause pockets to form between the teeth and gums, due to which plaque and food debris get deposited and the situation further worsens. This condition is experienced one or two days before the onset of the menstrual cycle and gradually decreases with the start of menstruation.
If you don’t care enough for your gums during your cycles, it can lead to gingivitis and later to periodontists where you can lose your teeth at a younger age.
How can gingivitis be prevented?
You need to maintain proper routine oral care to avoid these dental problems. Below mentioned are guidelines that will help in dealing with the problem:
- Brushing daily: Regularly brushing your teeth using a soft nylon-bristle toothbrush, at least twice daily in a circular motion or a straight downward motion is the best way to clean your teeth. With that, a back-and-forth scrub may be needed to focus on the gum line.
- Tongue cleaning: This is a mandatory step which helps to collect and clean the bacteria that sticks to our tongue.
- Floss your teeth: Make sure to floss every time, after you done with brushing your teeth. This helps to reduce plaque built-up between your teeth.
- Use a mouthwash: Rinsing with mouthwash, it helps in curing gum inflammation as anti-bacterial mouthwashes contain the ingredient chlorhexidine which helps to kill dental bacteria’s and cavities.
- Use an interdental brush: Further techniques like Oral prophylaxis (ultrasonic scaling) or use of interdental brush, a plaque removal device or an irrigation device can help. However, first do consult a dentist before investing in one. Professional scaling is also extremely vital because once the plaque has hardened and built-up or become tartar, only a dentist or dental hygienist can eradicate it. Advanced technologies like gingivectomy, flap surgery, root planning is of greater help in the chronic conditions.
Are women prone to gum diseases only during menstruation?
Pregnancy, menopause, and intake of birth control pills other than menstruation are the few causes of hormonal fluctuation leading to gingivitis. It can also occur due to certain long-term consumption of medicines like anti-epileptic drugs and certain anti-hypertensive drugs. Later it may result into periodontitis. This can also turn out as one of the biggest threats to our heart and can lead to severe heart diseases because if a patient with periodontitis goes through any surgical procedure and have not got proper antibiotic prophylaxis then it may affect their cardiac conditions and results in Sub-Acute Bacterial Endocarditis (SABE).
This is why taking care of dental hygiene is of prime importance for women.