So, ladies, besides dealing with bone loss, insomnia, weight gain and a host of other problems due to menopause, you should know that more frequent visits to your dentist are probably in order.
Besides the first few years of my life (when my parents neglected their children’s oral hygiene), I have been diligent about brushing, flossing, using dental picks and rinsing with fluoride. Due to those early years of neglect, I had my share of cavities and paid dearly for a total of four gold crowns, three root canals and a tooth extraction. But my overall dental health was very good and I passed my twice yearly exams with flying colors. Until now.
I am not going to regale you with all the painful travails of my dental problems over the past few months. However, I will say that they have surpassed the pain level of my last two spine surgeries! My most current dental procedure entailed filling a cavity below my gum line in the root of a tooth which, according to my dentist and Google, is not all that common.
As you can probably already guess, the hormonal change that takes place during menopause, such as a decrease in estrogen, is the culprit for many diseases of the mouth. A decline in bone density of the jaw increases the possibility for loose teeth and tooth loss. Gums are at risk as they become more susceptible to plaque, leading to gingivitis and advanced periodontitis. Lack of saliva can create dry mouth which may result in tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. And, to top it all off, burning mouth syndrome (BMS — yes, there’s an acronym for everything) can create a burning sensation of the tongue, lips, gums, cheek, palate and throat.
Mouth rinses, medication, diet change and hormone replacement therapy may be prescribed to prevent or alleviate the symptoms associated with these menopause-induced diseases. Practicing good oral hygiene and having regular dental exams are a must.
Seek the advice of your dentist or doctor. You will have to bring up the subject of menopause in relation to oral hygiene because, believe me, they never will !!!