If you are a woman entering menopause, then you need to learn how hormone changes during this time of life can affect not only the rest of your body, but also your teeth and gums. Knowing what to expect can help you know what changes in your mouth to keep an eye out for, so you know when to alert your dentist to these changes. Here are three of the most common changes can occur in your teeth and gums during menopause and how they can be treated.
1. Dry Mouth
While dry mouth does have many other causes, it is often triggered by hormone changes during menopause. When estrogen levels drop during menopause, all mucous membranes begin producing less fluid, which is why so many women develop vaginal dryness during menopause as well as dry mouth.
Dry mouth can be more problematic during menopause than during other times of life. Having less saliva in your mouth cannot only lead to you getting more cavities, it can also make the two following more severe oral problems linked to menopause more likely to occur. If you tell your dentist about your dry mouth as soon as it starts, you can help him or her work out a treatment plan that can then help prevent the next two more serious dental problems.
2. Burning Mouth Syndrome
Burning mouth syndrome most commonly occurs in women going through menopause, although it is not unheard of for women and men of any age to experience it. If you develop this syndrome, then your experience can range from a mild, uncomfortable sensation in your mouth to more intense pain, or even numbness with no pain.
While burning mouth syndrome has many causes, it is frequently caused by the drop in estrogen in the body that occurs during menopause. For this reason, it is often treated with estrogen supplements along with systemic and topical pain medications.
Lifestyle changes that can help it include eating only mild, non-spicy foods, increasing fluid intake, and reducing stress in your life.
3. Menopausal Gingivostomatitis
While gingivostomatitis is caused by bacterial infection or a virus and can occur in a person of any age, menopausal gingivostomatitis has earned its own name because this gum condition occurs more frequently in menopausal women. Dry mouth and changes in oral tissue that occur during menopause can make the mouth much more susceptible to this gum problem, and treatment must address not only the infection itself, but what is making the mouth so prone to it.
Signs to watch out for that signal this condition include gums that have a dry, shiny appearance and/or have changed color in any way and may bleed. Like burning mouth syndrome, the best treatment for menopausal Gingivostomatitis is estrogen supplement, as they have been shown to stimulate growth of oral mucosa, and discontinuation of any progesterone supplements that may be contributing to the symptoms.
Menopause causes many changes in your body, and your mouth is no exception. Alert a dentist like Oral Surgery with Oracare Dental as soon as you notice changes in your mouth occurring, such as the first signs of dry mouth, to prevent even more oral problems down the line.