By Gretchen Heffernan

Dry Mouth and Menopause

A change in hormone levels during peri-menopause, menopause, and post-menopause have a significant effect on oral health. This is because the stages of menopause are a result of a decrease in oestrogen and progesterone levels. 

Progesterone is a bone metabolizing hormone, and estrogen is crucial to bone reabsorption. Also, estrogen is important for establishing equilibrium inside the oral tissues, mucosa, gingiva, and salivary because it binds to the receptors. Which is why low estrogen levels can cause oral tissues to thin, resulting in inflammation of the gums. This makes fitting oral prosthesis comfortably and successfully difficult. Xerostomia, periodontitis, osteoporosis, oral mucosal disorders, and trigeminal neuralgia are among the list of oral health risks caused by menopause.

“Xerostomia is the most common oral symptom reported in menopausal women affecting saliva production in parotid submandibular sublingual and minor salivary glands...Dental caries, mucositis, infections, pain, altered taste, oral malodor, and ­dysphagia are higher in menopausal women experiencing oral dryness, says Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. 

So, what can you do to look after your oral health during menopause? It’s a simple matter of doing all those things you know you should do but probably put off! Visit the hygienist regularly, floss twice a day, drink plenty of water, and avoid too much caffeine and sugar. 

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Be well and take care everyone,

Dr. Heff’s