Wednesday 20 December 2017

Marla Ahlgrimm | Oral Health and Menopause

Marla Ahlgrimm

Women over the age of 45 are heading straight toward menopause. And, surprisingly, Marla Ahlgrimm explains, a few of these changes show up in one of the least expected places, the mouth.

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, women undergoing menopause experience hormone fluctuations that can lead to unfavorable symptoms involving the mouth. These include:

  • Burning mouth syndrome. Marla Ahlgrimm explains this is a condition that causes intense pain and affects the lips, tongue, and areas where dentures are supported.
  • Dry mouth (xerostomia). Waning estrogen levels result in not only vaginal dryness but can make the mouth feel parched as well.
  • Bleeding gums. Due to hormone fluctuations, a woman going through menopause may experience dry, pale gums that tend to bleed without provocation.
  • Periodontitis. At menopause, women become more susceptible to periodontitis, an extreme form of periodontal disease.
  • Osteoporosis. It is largely understood that women going through menopause will experience some bone loss in the form of osteoporosis. This extends to the mouth, explains Marla Ahlgrimm, where a woman’s jawbones may decrease in density.
  • Eating disorders. While not a direct oral disorder, eating disorders affect the mouth in a number of ways. The psychological stress associated with menopausal weight gain and hormones may lead a woman into bulimia. This condition, which is typified by intentional vomiting after a meal, exposes tooth enamel to stomach acids which can cause erosion.

Despite the oral health issues women face, all hope is not lost for a healthy mouth after menopause. Marla Ahlgrimm recommends maintaining a diet high in calcium, fiber, and nutrients. Oral care, including brushing and rinsing twice a day, will help stave off many of these unpleasant symptoms. In the case of dry mouth, which can cause bad breath, Ahlgrimm suggests drinking plenty of water and keeping sugar-free gum on hand to encourage the production of saliva.


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