If you're approaching menopause, there are certain changes you probably know to expect. Hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain, for example, are often discussed symptoms of menopause. There is another lesser-known aspect of health to keep in mind as you approach menopause – your dental health. Just as knowing what to expect when it comes to hot flashes makes them easier to handle, knowing what to expect in terms of dental health during menopause will leave you better equipped to handle any challenges that do arise.
Common Dental Problems in Menopausal Women
During menopause, hormonal changes can lead to a decrease in saliva production, which leads to an increased risk of feelings of dry mouth. This dry mouth may also lead to bad breath, a burning sensation on the tongue, and even gum disease. It's common for women to notice that their gums become sensitive, red and prone to bleeding when they enter menopause. These are signs of gum disease.
In addition to dry mouth and gum disease, women are more prone to dental caries, or cavities, during menopause. Some women also begin experiencing jaw pain, which is often due to bone loss in the jaw.
Treating Common Dental Problems During Menopause
If you do experience some of the symptoms described above, it's important not to panic. What you are going through is normal, but that does not mean you have to continue living with bleeding gums and dry mouth. If your gums are the main source of your worries, rinsing once per day with salt water, in addition to brushing and flossing regularly, may help alleviate your gum disease. If your symptoms do not subside within a few weeks, visit your dentist so that he or she can properly diagnose your condition and make sure your symptoms are, in fact, attributable to menopause and not another underlying condition. If you have cavities, having them filled promptly will keep your tooth decay from progressing.
Taking great care of your teeth and gums by brushing twice per day and flossing daily will help ease any gum disease symptoms and keep additional cavities from forming. If your dentist feels dry mouth is a contributing factor to your gum disease or cavities, he or she may prescribe an oral medication to boost your saliva production. He or she may also recommend seeing a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in treating gum-related dental issues, for further treatment.
Menopause causes hormonal changes that affect every system in the body, including your teeth and gums. As long as you care for your teeth properly and continue to see your dentist for regular appointments, the problems you encounter should be manageable.Share
6 January 2015