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Menopause Can Affect Your Oral Health

 

The Struggle Is Real

Menopause is a major biological clockwork change in the women's bodies. So the more we educate ourselves on the symptoms, the more we are prepared for it, and the less anxious we will be. When we talk about menopause symptoms, very often we only discuss the body changes that women may experience. The truth is, the hormonal fluctuations due to menopause can also affect women's oral health big time causing many painful dental issues. In this article, we will focus on the dental issues related to menopause, which is less talked about. Oral health is critical to our overall general health. People with poor oral health are 40% more likely to have a chronic condition.
 

Menopause Affects Your Oral Health

Some of the oral health issues that often occur during menopause are dry mouth, pain or a burning sensation in the mouth, teeth sensitivity, strange taste in the mouth, bone loss, and gum recession. Although symptoms may vary for different people, understanding these side effects can help you, both mentally and physically, to be more prepared for it.
 

Dry Mouth 

When estrogen levels drop, the production of your saliva may decrease which leads to dry mouth. Tooth decay-causing bacteria thrive in a dry mouth condition, which will increase your chances of getting a cavity. To relieve dry mouth, chew sugar-free gum, suck on sugar-free candies, drink a lot of water, or try a saliva substitute that can be purchased from a pharmacy. Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages as well.

 

Osteoporosis/Bone Loss

The change in the estrogen level can seriously affect the strength of your bones. This not limited to only your body but also your jaw. Women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss. In some cases, dentures may become loose. When it comes to osteoporosis, prevention is better than cure. Adopting a healthy lifestyle early is critical for keeping your bones strong. Light exercises such as walking and jogging can be beneficial.  Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, and take supplement like calcium and vitamin D to help strengthen your bones.

 

Gum Recession or Inflamed Gum

The gum may become weak and more sensitive during menopause which can result in red, swollen, gum recession, or even bleeding. When your bones are weakened, your chance of gum disease increases. Gingivitis and periodontitis may develop. If you notice your gum is bleeding or starting to change in color due to menopause, it’s time to talk to your doctor or check with your dentist. Here are three basic things you can do everyday to help fight gum disease:
 

  1. Electric Toothbrush. One of the biggest advantages of an electric toothbrush is that it has a built-in timer. It limits to 2 minutes of brushing time, which is the recommended brushing time. Additionally, an electric toothbrush is gentle on the gum and it brushes quickly around each tooth efficiently. It removes 2 times more plaque than a manual toothbrush.  
     

  2. Daily Flossing. Flossing can remove plaque and tartar where a toothbrush cannot reach.  In fact, we recommend water flossing instead of the regular string flossing. Water flossing or water picking can reach places where a string floss cannot reach, especially on the areas that are way in the back of the mouth. The massage action from water flossing can stimulate gums and improve its health.
     

  3. Supplements. A well-balanced diet is always important in order to promote overall health. Women at this phase of life also need to make sure they are getting Vitamin C and Vitamin D. Vitamin C boosts tissue and bone repair while vitamin D can help reduce inflammation of the gums.

 

There are menopause support groups and health services that can help you get through menopause. If you haven’t been going to your annual checkups or seeing your dentist regularly, this will be a good time to start. Start putting more focus on yourself and taking time to do the things you have always wanted to do. Menopause is a new chapter in life, so let’s embrace it!

 

 

 

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Michael E. Knauss Family Dentistry

5686 North 103rd Street

Omaha, NE 68134

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