Keeping those whites pearly and bright!

Keeping those whites pearly and bright!

I bet you didn’t know that menopause can significantly affect our dental health. It’s one of the less common things we hear about when we talk about hormonal changes, particularly the decrease in estrogen levels. These changes can lead to various dental and oral health issues.

I know this. I found out first hand. I was lucky that my hygienist took a hard line with me and scared the bejeesus out of me. I now floss every day no matter what.

Here’s how menopause impacts dental health and what we can do to manage these changes: 

  1. Dry Mouth (Xerostomia):
  • Cause: Reduced estrogen levels can decrease saliva production.
  • Effects: Increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and difficulty in chewing, swallowing, and speaking.
  1. Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease):
  • Cause: Hormonal fluctuations can make gums more susceptible to inflammation and infection.
  • Effects: Symptoms may include red, swollen, bleeding gums, and in severe cases, tooth loss.
  1. Burning Mouth Syndrome:
  • Cause: Hormonal changes can affect the mouth’s tissues and nerve function.
  • Effects: A burning sensation in the mouth, which can be accompanied by dry mouth and altered taste.
  1. Osteoporosis:
  • Cause: Lower estrogen levels can lead to bone loss, including the jawbone.
  • Effects: This can result in loose teeth and receding gums.
  1. Altered Taste (Dysgeusia):
  • Cause: Hormonal changes may affect taste buds.
  • Effects: A bitter or metallic taste can develop, affecting the enjoyment of food.

6 ways to manage your dental health

  1. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene:
  • Brush and Floss: Brush teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily.
  • Mouth Rinse: Use an antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce bacteria and plaque.
  1. Regular Dental Visits:
  • Check-ups: Visit the dentist regularly (at least twice a year) for professional cleanings and examinations.
  • Early Intervention: Address any signs of gum disease or other oral health issues promptly. 
  1. Manage Dry Mouth:
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Saliva Substitutes: Use saliva substitutes or sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production.
  • Avoid Irritants: Limit caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco, which can worsen dry mouth. 
  1. Healthy Diet:
  • Calcium and Vitamin D: Ensure adequate intake to support bone health. Dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified foods are good sources.
  • Limit Sugary Foods: Reduce the consumption of sugary snacks and drinks to prevent tooth decay.
  1. Hormone Therapy:
  • Consultation: Discuss with a healthcare provider if HRT is appropriate, as it may help alleviate some menopausal symptoms, including those affecting oral health.
  1. Addressing Specific Conditions:
  • Burning Mouth Syndrome: Seek treatment options which may include medications, nutritional supplements, and avoiding irritating foods.
  • Periodontal Care: For gum disease, professional treatments like scaling and root planing may be necessary.

You can keep your gums tight and strong by following your dentist/healthcare providers recommendations and mitigate the impact of menopause on your dental health. Hell, we need our mouths to stay healthy because we still have so much more to say!

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