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6 Ways To Protect Your Oral Health During Menopause | CrunchyTales

5 Ways To Protect Your Oral Health During Menopause

3 min read

Menopause, the natural transition marking the end of a woman’s reproductive years, brings a wave of familiar symptoms: hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. But there’s another aspect of menopause that often goes unnoticed – its impact on oral health.

Our friend Sarah, recently going through this challenging stage of life, confided to us about some surprising changes in her mouth. Dryness was a big one – water just wasn’t cutting it anymore. She also noticed her gums seemed more sensitive, bleeding occasionally. Apparently, hormonal shifts could make her more prone to gum disease too.

Yes, the hormonal changes during menopause, particularly the decline in estrogen and progesterone, can wreak havoc in our mouths.

Here’s why you might experience some surprising dental issues and how to navigate this shift.

The Hormonal Shift and Its Effects On Oral Health

Studies like one published in the British Dental Journal highlight the presence of estrogen receptors in the oral mucosa and salivary glands. This suggests a direct link between hormonal fluctuations and changes in the oral cavity.

Oestrogen plays a significant role in preserving oral health. It safeguards the bones that support your teeth and maintains healthy gums. As oestrogen levels decline, your mouth becomes more vulnerable to various oral health concerns. Some women might develop a common type of gum disease called gingivitis (it’s when your gums become inflamed and sensitive, and you may experience bleeding). Without treatment, gingivitis can lead to gum recession and put your teeth at risk of sensitivity and decay.

Other women over 50 may experience a decrease in bone density that can cause a slight reduction in the size of their jawbone, too. You might then notice a subtle shifting of your teeth, which can result in crowding or spacing problems. This can feel concerning, especially if you’ve had orthodontic treatment in the past.

You might also experience a tingling sensation in the mouth or dryness and even a change in the way foods taste to you. For example, you may find yourself bothered by salty, sour, or peppery foods. It’s also possible for food to taste unusually bitter or metallic.

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Taking Charge of Oral Health During Menopause

The hormonal changes of menopause are not the only factors affecting our teeth during this time. Stress and anxiety, common during menopause, can lead to unhealthy habits like increased sugar intake or smoking, further impacting oral health.

Here are some steps women over 50 can take to maintain good oral health during menopause:  

  1. Regular Dental Checkups: Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings, allowing your dentist to monitor any changes and address potential problems early on.
  2. Hydration is Key: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to combat dry mouth. A dry mouth is often worse when you wake up, especially if you get night sweats, so keep a water bottle on your bedside table during the night. It’s also a good idea to moderate your alcohol intake. Sugar-free gum or lozenges can also stimulate saliva production.  
  3. Oral Hygiene Routine: Maintain a meticulous oral hygiene routine, brushing twice daily and flossing regularly. Consider using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth.
  4. Lifestyle Modifications: Manage stress through exercise, relaxation techniques, and a healthy diet. Limit sugary foods and drinks, and avoid smoking.
  5. Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): For severe menopause symptoms, including oral health issues, you might want to speak to your GP about whether HRT could help. It’s important to consider the risks as well as the benefits and make an informed decision.

Menopause may bring about changes in your oral health, but these challenges can be addressed. By understanding the hormonal connection and implementing the strategies mentioned above, you can maintain a healthy smile throughout menopause and beyond. 

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