Hot flashes and mood swings are among the most well-known symptoms of menopause. But lesser-known issues such as bone loss, gum disease and bleeding gums are also known to make an appearance, and because of this, women should pay particular attention to their dental health as estrogen levels begin to drop during menopause.
For women between the ages of 45 and 55, menopause may be just a few short months or years away. The average age for the onset of menopause is 51 and while there is no way to predict when women will enter it, most women follow the same pattern as their mother.
Whether women are already in menopause or are nearing the average age of onset, below is valuable information about dental health signs and symptoms related to menopause that women should look for.
Bone loss and Osteoporosis
A decline in estrogen levels often leads to a decline in bone density. This is a cause of concern for a woman’s dental health because this decrease in bone density may alter the structure of the jawbone – ultimately leading to a loss of teeth.
Fortunately, there are several ways for women to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis. Here are a few simple ways women can be proactive about bone loss:
- Increase intake of calcium and vitamin D
- Participate in weight-bearing exercise at least three times per week
- Avoid smoking and large consumptions of alcohol
Inflamed and bleeding gums
In addition to bone loss, changes in hormones can also cause discomfort in gums and make gums more susceptible to bleeding. It is important for women to report signs of discomfort in their gums, as most gum disease is almost always reversible if caught early.
Early detection may not only help women reverse gum disease, but it may also help prevent other ailments such as heart disease that have been linked with gum disease from developing.
In addition to early detection at home, frequent visits to the dentist are another way for women to stay on top of their dental health.
Dental care recommendations during menopause
During menopause it is especially important to maintain daily dental health practices such as brushing, rinsing and flossing at least twice a day and, when possible, after meals. Because menopause-related hormone changes make women more vulnerable to several dental health issues, it is also important for women to stay current with dental checkups and cleanings.
In today’s economy, however, some women may find it difficult to squeeze the cost of preventive checkups and cleanings into their budgets. For these women, discount dental plans are a money-saving solution and an alternative to dental insurance.