Just like puberty, menopause is a change that affects your entire body and every aspect of your life. You may be familiar with some common ones: hot flashes, chills, trouble sleeping, mood changes, etc. In this myriad of changes, do not forget about your mouth.
You may experience altered taste, burning sensations, and increased sensitivity. These are fairly common and not serious, however uncomfortable they may be. Increased sensitivity can be reduced using certain toothpastes. You may also consider changing your eating habits, depending on what seems to provoke a painful response.
During menopause, two serious concerns for your mouth include bone loss and dry mouth..
Bone loss is a condition that can affect your entire body. Although you should be especially concerned about the bones that affect your mobility, do not forget that bone loss can occur in your jaw as well.
When you enter menopause, the decreased levels of estrogen can negatively impact bone density in every part of your body. If you begin to lose bone in your jaw, this can lead to tooth loss as there is insufficient support for the tooth. The loss of a tooth affects your oral health and ages your appearance.
A sign of bone loss in your jaw is receding gums. As your gums recede, more of your tooth and jaw are exposed and can decay more easily. Be sure to visit your dentist regularly to check on your gums as well as your jawbone.
Getting the proper amount of calcium and Vitamin D in your diet can help prevent bone loss. Talk to your doctor about the best ways to do this. Also, avoid tobacco and heavy alcohol consumption. Both of these can have negative impacts on your body’s ability to age gracefully.
Dry mouth happens because your mouth is producing less saliva. This is important because saliva rinses your teeth to clear bacteria that can cause cavities and decay. Talk to your dentist about dry mouth. Also, consider some of these changes to your lifestyle:
- Sucking on ice chips or sugar-free candy.
- Increasing your water intake.
- Using an over-the-counter dry mouth spray/rinse.
- Avoiding spicy, sticky, or salty foods.
- Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco products.
- Sleeping in a room with a humidifier.
Although your dentist cannot help you with the hot flashes or mood changes of menopause, you can still have a beautiful smile while you age. Talk to your dentist to find out how he can help you!