The following information was written by Dr. Minsk and published on various internet web-sites.


Hormonal fluctuations are normal during specific times in a woman’s life. These hormonal changes can create special health and dental care needs that start as early as puberty. During this time, the gums can become more sensitive to bacteria and more susceptible to periodontal diseases.

Few differences are seen in the gums of pre-pubertal males and females. Most of the changes that women experience during puberty are caused by an increase in the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. These sex hormones cause dilation of the blood vessels, resulting in inflammation and an obstruction in the normal repair mechanisms of the gums. The result is red, swollen gums that may bleed easily and become painful. In some instances, the changes may be so pronounced that a pregnancy tumor-like growth develops. Although benign, if it doesn’t resolve, it may need to be surgically removed.

The changes in the gums occur only in the areas of plaque accumulation. Therefore, plaque control is critical in order to prevent or control the development of pubertal gingivitis. As with any other form of gingivitis, once developed, pubertal gingivitis needs to be treated with a thorough professional cleaning and a strict oral hygiene routine that includes brushing and flossing. Left untreated, pubertal gingivitis can progress to periodontitis and result in bone loss around the teeth. In severe cases, treatment may require bacterial cultures, antibiotic treatment and even periodontal surgery.

During puberty, young women are also faced with a variety of social pressures that may also result in changes in the oral cavity. Increased awareness of body image and preoccupation with weight may predispose some young women to eating disorders. The use of diet pills, and poor eating habits can increase the risk for nutritional deficiencies and dry mouth. All of these changes, combined with a lax in plaque control can result in increased rates of cavities and gum disease.

If the gums bleed during brushing or eating it may be a sign of periodontal disease. Understanding the changes that you may experience in your gums as a result of hormonal fluctuations may help you prevent the serious complications related to periodontal disease. As always, maintaining meticulous plaque control and visiting your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and examinations are the best ways to prevent the serious oral and systemic ramifications of periodontal disease.

Nikolaos D. Karellos, D.M.D. | prosthodontist
Laura Minsk, D.M.D. | periodontist
Nikolaos D. Karellos, D.M.D.
Laura Minsk, D.M.D.
801 Yale Ave.
Suite 619
Swarthmore, PA 19081