South Shore Long Island
Periodontics & Implantology P.C.
Dr. Leslie G. Batnick, D.D.S.
Dr. Lois B. Levine, D.D.S.
Dr. Joo H. Kim, D.D.S.
Diplomates, American Board of Periodontology

Women & Periodontal Disease

Throughout each woman’s life, her body is affected by changes in hormonal levels. Common times of hormonal fluctuation include puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. During these times, the risk of developing periodontal disease rises.

At South Shore Long Island Periodontics & Implantology, we recommend that women take extra special care of their oral health during these times of change.


As sex hormones increase during puberty, gum sensitivity also increases. This can lead to more pronounced irritation from plaque and food particles. Adolescents going through puberty are likely to experience swollen, red, and tender gums.

Menstruation also begins during puberty. The body exhibits many changes in the days before menstruation, and some of these may be periodontal in nature. It’s possible to experience bleeding gums, swelling between the teeth and the gums, and sores inside the cheeks. Once the period starts, these symptoms usually clear up. As sex hormones decrease and stabilize, so do these periodontal symptoms.


Pregnancy is another time in a woman’s life when it seems like the entire body goes through a number of changes. Included among those parts of the body affected by pregnancy are gums and teeth. A pregnant woman may experience swelling or bleeding of the gums between the second and eighth month of pregnancy as well as redness and tenderness.

Lumps sometimes referred to as “pregnancy tumors” may also appear as a reaction to irritants. While the name may sound scary, these growths are typically harmless. They do not hurt and are not cancerous. In some cases, professional removal may be necessary, but most disappear after the pregnancy is over.

Part of your prenatal care should include periodontal maintenance and treatment. Poor oral health is linked to pre-term delivery and low birth weights in babies. Approximately half of all women in the U.S. experience “pregnancy gingivitis.”

If you are planning to become pregnant, we recommend scheduling an examination and treating any areas of active infection to help ensure a happy, healthy pregnancy. Healthy gums start at home, and we can help you improve your home care routine and monitor your gum health throughout your pregnancy.

Oral Contraceptives

Oral contraceptives, often simply referred to “birth control pills,” contain synthetic hormones. One side effect associated with birth control pills is swelling, bleeding, and tender gums.

It’s important to alert us to any medications you are taking, both prescription and over the counter. Not only do birth control pills increase your susceptibility to periodontal symptoms, we also want to make sure we can avoid any undesired interactions between medications. For instance, antibiotics, which we might prescribe to treat an infection, can lessen the effectiveness of oral contraception.


Along with the other changes you might experience at menopause, you might experience changes in the way your mouth looks and feels. Common concerns include pain or a burning sensation in your gum tissue. You may also experience a salty, peppery, or sour taste in your mouth.

These symptoms can often be relieved with diligent oral hygiene and a professional cleaning. Since dry mouth can sometimes be a factor, we can also provide saliva substitutes to increase your comfort.