Did you know mouth and gum pain can be a sign of PMS?
This is everything you need to know about menstruation gingivitis, which can cause mouth ulcers and sore gums before your period.
You probably know the common symptoms of PMS, like stomach cramps or sore boobs. Even some of the more unexpected side effects are becoming better discussed, like period flu or constipation before your bleed.
But who knew it was common for your period to impact your mouth too? Yep, many people experience teeth and mouth discomfort before their period. Known as menstruation gingivitis (gingiva meaning the gum around the base of your teeth), a 2019 study suggested it could impact a quarter of pre-menstrual women.
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“Menstruation gingivitis is an inflammation of gums that occurs one to two days before your period starts. It usually disappears as the period begins,” says Dr Katerina Shkodzik, gynaecologist and medical advisor at Mira.
A study from American Academy of Periodontology reported that symptoms of gingivitis include sores in the mouth, burning sensations, minor ulcers, minor bleeding and irritation, andgeneralpainanddiscomfortin the gums.
Why do my teeth and mouth hurt before my period?
Menstruation gingvitis is thought to be down to the increase in progesterone that occurs before your period. “This causes the gingival tissue to become more sensitive to the plaque on the teeth and produces inflammatory reactions. Progesterone also increases blood supply in the gums, which all play a role in developing gingivitis,” explains Dr Shkodzik.
Before our periods, the levels of prostaglandins also rises. “These are specific substances that cause inflammation,” says Dr Shkodzik. Prostaglandins play a role in stomach cramps, migraines and inflammation in the gums too, leading to extra inflammation.
Is it normal for your mouth to hurt before your period?
“The hormonal fluctuations that cause menstruation gingivitis is totally normal,” says Dr Shkodzik. “For some women, menstrual gingivitis is a reaction within their bodies and for others it isn’t, but those at a higher risk are people with poor oral hygiene, who smoke or have a vitamin C deficiency, so if you notice it repeats from cycle to cycle it is better to consult a doctor to get a special teeth cleaning and further recommendations about oral hygiene.”
It’s also important to remember that there’s a difference between sensation and pain. Your period cycle might change how you feel but it shouldn’t alter your life, so talk to a doctor if you are concerned.
How to treat mouth pain before your period
The simplest way to avoid or deal with gingivitis is to keep your mouth healthy. “No matter where you are in your cycle, keeping up a good oral care routine at home is essential. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss at least daily and rinse the mouth with antimicrobial rinse,” says Dr Shkodzik.
If you are struggling with mouth pain, a doctor may be able to prescribe topical anaesthetics and antiseptics.
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