Menstruation and the mouth

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The late luteal phase -- the days immediately preceding the menstrual period -- have been associated with bloating, abdominal discomfort, and mood swings. According to "Women's Oral Health Issues," a report by the American Dental Association, certain dental conditions are also more likely to flare during that time. Like PMS, these dental woes have been attributed to the effects of progesterone, which reaches peak levels a few days before our periods begin. They include:

Gingivitis. Women who suffer from gingivitis -- an inflammation of gum tissue -- often find that bleeding increases and that teeth become slightly loose. Progesterone dilates the capillaries feeding the gingiva -- or gum tissue -- making them more permeable, which contributes to swelling. It also inhibits the repair of gingival collagen, which helps to support teeth.
Cold sores and canker sores often erupt during the luteal phase. This may be due to progesterone's suppressive effects on the immune system.

Hemorrhage following oral surgery. Post-surgical hemorrhages are more likely to occur during menstruation than at any other time of the cycle. The phenomenon may be due to a slight reduction in platelet count and the prolongation of clotting time.

Swollen salivary glands. Several researchers have observed that salivary glands swell and become painful during menstruation, although the cause is unclear. Not even progesterone appears to be responsible.

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