Gum Problems during MenopauseGum Problems during Menopause

During menopause and other times of hormonal fluctuation, women are at a greater risk of dental problems, including gum problems. This is most commonly associated with changes in estrogen levels in the body and, in the case of menopause, the natural aging process.

Because of this increased risk of dental and gum problems, it is essential that women approaching or traversing the menopausal transition become informed about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of dental and gum problems.

Gum disease increases the risk of heart disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, oral cancer occurs nearly as often as leukemia and claims almost as many lives as melanoma cancer.

Dental and Gum Problems during Menopause

Menopause can bring with it a whole host of dental and gum problems. The menopausal transition increases the risk of:

Gingivitis, the medical term for gum disease, develops when bacteria proliferate and build up between your gums and teeth, which can lead to irritation, inflammation and Bisphosphonates are a class of drugs often prescribed to treat osteoporosis.

Unfortunately, these drugs carry a rare but serious risk of osteo-necrosis, or dead jaw. bleeding. If gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to more serious problems like periodontitis.

Menopause also increases the risk of bone problems, which can affect the teeth and jawbone. The risk of osteoporosis,
which can target the teeth and jaw, significantly increases following menopause.

Symptoms of Gum Problems

Most women who develop gum problems during menopause are aware of the symptoms they are experiencing. However, it is important for all women during the menopausal transition to become informed about the possible symptoms of gum problems.

If a woman experiences these or any other abnormal gum problems during the menopausal time, it is a good idea for her to speak with her dental care professional or primary care physician.

While a visit to the dentist’s chair is usually the only sure way to determine the cause of gum problems, it is very important to first become informed of the possible causes of gum problems, especially during menopause. Many people first detect gum problems because their toothbrush bristles turn pink while brushing- a sign that gums are bleeding with slight pressure.

Causes of Gum Problems

Hormonal Causes
While many factors can contribute to gum problems throughout the lifecycle, the most common cause of gum problems during menopause is fluctuations in estrogen hormone levels. Scientific evidence shows that estrogenlevels can affect many oral tissues including the gums, salivary glands, joints, and jawbones.
Hormonal changes in menopause can make a woman less sensitive to sucrose, leading to an increased desire for sweeter foods.

During menopause, as the body prepares to shut down the reproductive functions of the ovaries, levels of estrogen begin to spike and fall erratically, eventually leading to a significantly decreased production of estrogen.

This drop in estrogen is associated with an increased risk in gum problems, tooth loss, and osteoporosis.
In addition to hormonal causes, other factors can increase the risk of gum problems. These should be discussed in greater detail with a qualified dental care professional.

Treatment of Gum Problems

Preventing Gum Problems

When it comes to gum problem treatment, an ounce of prevention is worth its weight in gold. A woman can make the following lifestyle changes to prevent or mitigate the effects of gum problems during menopause:

Prevention and Management of Gum Problems

  • Brush teeth twice daily and floss once daily
  • Have teeth professionally cleaned every six months (or more frequently if recommended)
  • Get regular dental check ups
  • Discuss all dental and gum problems with dentist or dental hygienist
  • Tell dental professional about any medications used
  • Tell primary care provider of any dental changes, including gum problems

Getting to the Root of the Problem

While these measures can go a long way in the treatment and management of gum problems, they are unable to address the specific root cause of hormonal imbalance that occurs during menopause. Luckily, there are safe and natural ways to address this problem of hormonal imbalance.

Treatment for Menopausal Symptoms: