How Menopause Affects Your Oral Health

01-06-2014_menopause

Middle-aged women are undoubtedly familiar with the most common effects of menopause: hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain and moodiness for example. But did you know that this change of life can affect your oral health, too?

Your dental well-being is quite sensitive to significant hormonal changes, and menopause certainly falls in that category. The hormonal fluctuations that occur during menopause can wreak havoc on the gum tissue.

Post-menopausal women may be predisposed to receding gums, which can leave you with sensitive teeth and a greater likelihood of tooth decay, not to mention aging your appearance.

Bone loss may occur throughout the body at the onset of menopause and thereafter, and this too can be of concern for your oral health. In evaluating a menopausal woman, the dentist will closely examine the underlying bone structure on x-rays to determine if any pockets have developed or if there are any other anomalies that can affect the teeth or jaw.

It’s extremely important for menopausal women to keep their semiannual appointments with the dentist for routine care. Seeing your dentist at regular intervals throughout this time can help you catch any disease process in the gum tissue at an early stage. Furthermore, post-menopausal women also appear to be at increased risk for periodontal disease, so it’s important to continue to see your dentist as you get older.

Women in menopause also benefit from a thorough home oral hygiene regimen in addition to regular dental care. Brush twice a day and floss daily. Maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet with limited sweet treats is also important.

If menopause has begun for you, or even if it is a few years down the road, it’s a good time to check in with your dentist to make sure you are doing everything possible to protect your oral health. Talk about any changes you need to make or any symptoms (like bleeding gums or bad breath) that you should look for to identify a potential problem.

For more information and to schedule your next visit, contact our skilled and friendly dental team today.