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Are you experiencing more gum issues since entering the menopause?

by Dental Design, on 20th September 2022 | Comments Off on Are you experiencing more gum issues since entering the menopause?

Last Updated on 14th October 2022

Several significant changes occur in the body during the menopause, explain the hygienists and dental therapists at Evesham Dental Health Team in Worcestershire.

Many of these changes have resulting symptoms that can have a substantial impact on a woman’s day-to-day life, so much so that oral health can at times feel like the least of their worries.

The menopause, which commonly strikes in the late 40s and early 50s, leaves women at higher risk of several health issues, including gum disease, due to a decrease in oestrogen levels.

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss while previous studies have also suggested 28% of post-menopausal women are likely to suffer from tooth loss within five years.

However, a new study has found Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to be highly effective in reducing gum disease. It has been credited with helping women manage a range of menopause-related issues, including hot flushes, heart health and bone density, and now new research suggests it could be used to reduce gum disease and prevent tooth loss.

The study, which evaluated nearly 500 women between the ages of 50 and 87, discovered rates of gum disease were significantly lower in those receiving HRT, with many seeing a 44% improvement in gum health.

More than one million British women take HRT, but the NHS claims that many more could be suffering from menopausal symptoms in silence.

Falling oestrogen levels throughout menopause can cause numerous health issues, such as loss of bone density, leading to osteoporosis. At the same time, changes in oral health also are common as teeth and gums become more susceptible to disease, resulting in heightened risk of inflammation, bleeding, pain, and ultimately, loose or missing teeth.

Menopausal women can also be at heightened risk of other oral health conditions such as dry mouth, Burning Mouth Syndrome and weakness in the jawbone.

It is extremely important to continue maintaining a good oral health and hygiene routine during menopause. Brushing our teeth twice last thing at night and at one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste and reducing the frequency of sugary foods and drinks we consume could make a significant difference in keeping any major problems at bay. Cleaning in between our teeth on a daily basis with interdental brushes or floss can also be of great benefit.

Maintaining good oral hygiene throughout our lives is the best way to prevent the development of many oral health problems. If you are in pain or discomfort, please consider visiting a dental hygienist or dental therapist as they could really help and will provide great advice. Please contact us for more information.

References:

PASSOS-SOARES J S et al (2017) ‘Association between osteoporosis treatment and severe periodontitis in postmenopausal women’, Menopause, February 2017, available online at https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/2017/07000/Association_between_osteoporosis_treatment_and.12.aspx

BOLE C et al. (2011) ‘Clinical and community risk models of incident tooth loss in postmenopausal women from the Buffalo Osteo Perio Study’, Community Dent Oral Epidemiology, December 2010 38(6) 487-497.

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