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Menopause can be a time of tremendous anxiety for many women. As their bodies change and hormone levels rise and fall during menopause, there can be some unforeseen consequences. Many women only notice the outward changes that occur to their bodies but fail to look internally especially the changes that can occur in the mouth. These changes are quite natural but being informed can help you stay one step ahead and keep healthy through this time of change.

What Are Some Of The Potential Oral Changes With Menopause Onset?

-Xerostomia (Dry Mouth). As a woman’s estrogen levels decrease it can lead to a drier mouth. Saliva is nature’s way of keeping our mouth clean and hydrated. Without sufficient amounts of saliva our teeth become more susceptible to tooth decay and periodontal infections. Dry mouth can also come from many medications (prescriptions or over the counter) that are commonly prescribed as we get older.

-Menopausal Gingivostomatitis. This can occur to a very small percentage of women but can be very damaging. Gums that look dry or shiny, bleed easily and range from abnormally pale to deep red are hallmarks of this condition. Estrogen supplements are usually able to help to relieve these symptoms.

-Bone Density Changes. The decrease in estrogen that occurs with menopause also puts women at greater risk for loss of bone density. Loss of bone in the jaw area can lead to tooth loss. Gum recession can also be a sign of bone loss in the jawbone. Receding gums also expose more of the tooth surface to potential tooth decay by exposing more areas of the tooth to the acids in the mouth. Gingival grafting may be necessary to cover the receding areas.

-Change In Taste. This is especially true for salty, peppery or sour.

-Burning Mouth Syndrome. This can affect the tongue, gum tissues, lips, and possibly the tissues inside the cheeks of the mouth. The burning mouth sensation generally occurs from changes in taste and the sensory nerves in the mouth. It can also be caused as a result of dry mouth, poor nutrition, and even allergic reactions to food or drug. If you note any of these symptoms contact your dentist immediately for help in relieving the discomfort.

-Eating Disorders. Nutritional changes can occur from a woman’s change in her own body self image. These changes can lead to poor nutrition and improper eating habits. These changes can make our teeth more susceptiple to teeth damage.

How To Avoid Menopause Dental Issues?

-Maintain Good Oral Hygiene. This should include brushing 2x per day, flossing, and rinsing with an antibacterial rinse. This should also include regular dental visits for routine examinations and professional cleanings.

-Eat Properly. Maintaining good nutrition will help not only your oral health but your overall health as well.

-Salivary Supplements. These supplements can keep the oral tissues moist and make your mouth feel better throughout the day.

-Estrogen Supplements. While a controversial topic for many, the lowered estrogen levels are a main reason for the periodontal issues that arise going thru menopause.

Menopause Conclusion

Maintaining a healthy oral environment improves the quality of our lives especially as we get older. It is important for a woman to be aware of the changes happening in her body and to make the simple changes to keep on a healthy lifestyle path.



A gingival graft is the name given for any of a number of surgical periodontal procedures whose goal is to cover an area of exposed tooth root surface with grafted oral tissue from another source. Other names for this procedure are gum graft or periodontal cosmetic surgery. Gum recession is a process in which the margin of gingival tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away in a direction toward the end of the root, exposing more of the tooth. This can cause damage to supporting bone. It is a common dental problem (Studies have shown about 75% of americans have some form of periodontal disease) that often goes unnoticed until it becomes more severe.

Most people are not even aware that their gum tissue has receded since it is such a slow,gradual process. However, over time, an exposed tooth root can not only look ugly, but it can also cause tooth sensitivity. Tooth loss can occur eventually if the gingival tissue is not restored. To repair the damage and prevent further dental problems, a gingival graft may be needed. There are a few goals the dentist and patient are looking for when recommending or performing this surgery. They include:

1)Prevention of further root exposure.

2)To decrease or eliminate tooth sensitivity by covering the root area that was previously uncovered.

Gingival Graft

Gingival Graft – Before and After

3)Decrease the possible incidence of root caries as the root is no longer exposed.

4)Improved aesthetics. This is especially true of teeth that are shown during smiling.

A gingival graft is very effective in solving the problem at hand but there is no guarantee that gum problems won’t develop again. However, with regular dental checkups and careful at home maintenance, serious damage requiring further surgery can be prevented. Other ways to prevent periodontal disease include:

*Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. I recommend an electric toothbrush like the Rotadent.

*Floss daily.

*Maintain the schedule recommended by your dentist in regards to hygiene appointments. Usually a 6month recall schedule is the norm but it can more often depending on your situation. Ask your dentist what the best schedule is for you.

*Eat a well balanced and healthy diet.

*Do not smoke.