What Changes Does Menopause Have on Women’s Oral Health?
Oral health is important to women at all ages. After menopause, some oral health problems can become more common. Gum disease, reduced gum tissue and bone mass and cavities are just a few of the common concerns you might face after menopause. You can take these four actions to protect against problematic changes in your oral health after menopause.
As a woman goes through menopause, the functioning of the salivary glands tends to decrease. You might notice that you have a dry mouth or bad breath. This is part of the aging process, but it could also result from medications taken to deal with menopausal side effects. Consider a sugar-free gum, sipping plain water or using a mouth rinse to help.
Cavities can happen at any age, but thinning of the enamel and receding gum tissue could increase your risk of them after menopause. You can take action to prevent cavities by brushing your teeth at least twice every day for two minutes during each session with a fluoridated toothpaste. Flossing once or twice per day and using a fluoride mouthwash could also help. Be sure to visit the dentist so cavities can be caught while they are small.
Reduce the Risk of Inflamed Gums
Inflammation of gum tissue is increasingly common after menopause. Inflamed gum tissue is red, swollen, and bleeds easily. Professionals, like those at Smile Makers Dental, know that you may notice light bleeding when brushing or flossing your teeth. Continue to brush with a soft-bristled brush. You might need more frequent professional cleanings or an antiseptic mouth rinse to get rid of the bacteria that are causing the inflammation.
Protect Your Bone Mass
Women who have reached menopause often begin to lose bone mass. While the loss of bone mass could lead to fractures in your hips or legs, it can also lead to problems with your jaws and oral health. A loss of jaw bone mass could change how your teeth fit together. If you wear dentures, they could become ill-fitting as your bone mass is reduced. Protect your jaw bones by consuming enough calcium and vitamin D. Engage in regular weight-bearing exercises such as walking.
Work with your primary care doctor and dentist to be a partner in your oral health care. If a medication for menopause is causing negative impacts on your oral health, see if there is an alternative. Taking action now can help you to keep your teeth healthy for as long as possible.