22 Apr Menopause and Dental Health
Did you know that hygienists and dentists have the capability to help women become mindful of the effects of the different phases of menopause? By the time women are 40 years old, almost 10 percent have begun to experience deviations in their menstrual cycle, and by age 50, about 80 percent of women begin to skip their cycle. In fact, during menopause women tend to lose about 40 percent of their total bone mass during the time between perimenopause to menopause; this is due to hormones, such as estrogen, depleting during this time.
It is vital to converse with your dentist if you are going through menopause; this way your dentist can be aware of the effects of the different stages of menopause on the mouth. This will alert your dentist to monitor any variations in the underlying bone and in the gums more closely. When a woman is going through menopause, bone loss doesn’t just occur in the hips and spine, but can also occur in the alveolar bone of the jaw as well. Other effects of menopause on the oral health of women can include the following:
- Women with osteoporosis are more likely to suffer from gum disease, loose teeth, and tooth loss
- Menopausal women may experience abnormal sensations or have funny tastes in their mouths
- More likely to suffer from menopausal gingivostomatitis, which is a condition where dry shiny gums bleed easily
- Changes in estrogen levels can affect many of the oral tissues including the joints, jawbones, gums, and salivary glands
- Postmenopausal women suffering from osteoporosis lose upper teeth more easily, and will need new dentures more often
- If the patient had a hysterectomy at an early age, they will have low hormone levels and will more susceptible to problems such as thinning of the gums and decreased bone mineral density
Having open communication with your dentist is very important, especially if you are menopausal, as this makes one more susceptible to dental and gum problems. If you are experiencing any abnormal gum or dental problems during your menopausal time it is a good idea to speak with your dentist; remember an ounce of prevention is worth its weight in gold, and your teeth will thank you for it!