Dentist Teeth Whitening Methods For Stains

3 Ways Menopause Can Affect Your Mouth

If you are nearing your peri-menopausal years or if you are actually in menopause, your body may be undergoing systemic changes. While the most common manifestations of menopause are the cessation of menstrual periods and, in many cases, hot flashes, there are other signs that may indicate that menopause is in full swing. Here are three ways menopause can affect your oral cavity, and what you can do about them:

Dry Mouth

Menopause increases your risk for developing a dry mouth. While hormonal decline plays an important role in a dry mouth, autoimmune disorders, which are common in menopausal women, may also be to blame. Autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, and Sjögren's syndrome can all lead to salivary gland dysfunction.

When this happens, inadequate salivary flow may develop, leaving you with a dry mouth that may even make it difficult or you to chew, swallow, or even speak effectively. To help restore oral moisture, drink plenty of water, suck on hard candies, and talk to your dentist about recommending a lubricating mouthwash that will help alleviate dry mouth.

Bleeding Gums

Periodontal disease is a common condition in menopausal women. Estrogen helps keep your gums and connective tissues healthy, so when estrogen levels decline during menopause, it can have a negative impact on your gums. If your gums bleed profusely when brushing or flossing, see your dentist.

A meticulous oral hygiene regimen can help reverse gingivitis, however, if your efforts are not making a difference in the condition of your gums, talk to your physician, who may recommend a low dose of hormone replacement therapy to help improve your oral health.

While hormone replacement therapy can help restore healthy gums, it is not recommended for those with a family or personal history of gynecological cancers such as those of the breast, ovary, endometrium, or uterus. 

Jaw Problems

Osteoporosis often occurs during the menopausal years. Estrogen helps keep your bones strong and resistant to breaking, however, when the ovaries stop producing adequate amounts of estrogen, bones can become less dense, brittle, and prone to fractures.

Not only does osteoporosis affect the bones of the spine, it can affect your jaw bone as well. If you have osteoporosis, you may notice jaw pain and your dentures may not fit as well as they once did. Eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D can help improve bone health, as can estrogen replacement therapy. 

If you are in menopause and notice changes in your oral health, see your dentist at a place like Centre Family Dentistry and a physician. When you work with both your dental professional and primary doctor, you can develop an effective treatment plan to help stave off the negative effects of menopause, not only systemically, but in your mouth too.