When you reach menopause, your body starts producing less estrogen. This leads, most notably, to the cessation of the menstrual cycle and of ovulation, but it also leads to a number of other less-pronounced changes. One of these changes is an increase in your risk of gum disease. Even if your gums have been healthy throughout your whole life, you may now need to make more effort to keep them in good shape. Here's a closer look at some signs that indicate you're developing gum disease during menopause – and some tips to help protect your gums as you go through this natural change.
Signs of Gum Disease During Menopause
Often the first sign of gum disease is a little pink in the sink after you brush or floss. This mild bleeding happens because the bacteria that cause gum disease weaken your gum tissue, making you more prone to little lesions and abrasions that bleed. Your skin also becomes a bit thinner during menopause – including the "skin" on your gums – so you'll experience bleeding in the very early stages of gum disease.
Other signs of gum disease include painful gums, a bad taste in your mouth, and bad breath. Bad breath when you wake up in the morning or after you haven't brushed your teeth in a while is normal. But if your breath becomes stinky just minutes after brushing, gum disease may be to blame. If you let your gum disease progress without treatment, you may notice that your gums start to separate from your teeth and form little pockets.
How can you prevent gum disease during menopause?
It's time to kick your oral hygiene routine into high gear. Be extra cautious to never skip tooth brushings sessions. Make flossing once a day an absolute priority – you can even do it twice a day if you wish! Whenever you notice any sort of bleeding or minor gum disease symptoms, rinse your mouth out with salt water or antiseptic mouthwash twice a day until the symptoms clear up. If you ever experience more serious symptoms like pockets in your gums, seek professional treatment from your dentist.
If you're suffering from a lot of other menopause-related ailments in addition to gum disease, you may want to consider hormone replacement therapy. By replacing the estrogen your body is not making on its own, these medications will help ward off your unpleasant symptoms and preserve your health. Contact a clinic like HP Family Dental to learn more about your dental care options as well.