There are different cycles of menopause. Women can start experiencing some symptoms of this life changing experience in their 40’s. Women who have undergone a hysterectomy can go through “the change” even earlier. When these hormonal differences start to occur, the entire body is affected. This includes the mouth, teeth and gums making this time of life a critical period to make and keep consistent visits with the dentist.
Menopause is the stage of life when the reproductive cycle and related hormones change. Some women will skate through this time of their life with few side effects. But for the rest of us, our bodies may feel like they have turned on us.
Weight gain, bloating, heartburn accompanied by hot flashes and night sweats mostly impact the body. But dry mouth and concerns for gum disease are more reasons to remain vigilant in the care of teeth and gums.
Heartburn is most often the result of stomach acids that back up from the digestive system. These acids can affect dental health, so if you are experiencing chronic heartburn or acid reflux, your dentist can make recommendations for relief.
Dry mouth is a very big problem. Without sufficient saliva production, the bacteria normally flushed with saliva can linger on teeth and gums. Bacteria can lead to gingivitis (gum disease) and dental decay. Solutions include increasing water intake, and doing the things that promote saliva production like chewing sugar free gum or sucking on sugar free candy.
Many of the hormonal changes experienced mostly by women can result in bone loss. While this is most often thought of in terms of the body only, bone loss in gum tissue can occur as well. This leads to the potential of tooth loss. One of the big risk factors, smoking, can increase the odds of gum disease and tooth loss as we age making the decision to discontinue tobacco very important.
Keeping our biological teeth for all of life is a wonderful goal. We can help achieve this by daily flossing, brushing, and keeping our bodies as healthy as possible.
Seeing one of our experienced and caring dentists every six months for a cleaning to remove plaque build-up will help prevent gum disease and dental decay. These visits also provide an opportunity for the dentist to make sure your oral health is maintained during one of life’s biggest changes.