Menopause in the Mouth
I noticed some questions in the WIN chat on this topic so I consulted my friend, a gynecologist and we came to this conclusion:
What happens in your Vagina, will also happen in your Mouth….
The decrease in the estrogen hormone concentration impacts the oral mucosa in a similar way to the vaginal mucosa, as they have comparable structures. So specific care should be taken in this period.
Let’s discuss several important points that concern
The Mouth’s transformation in Menopause
1/It is well known that Estrogen Deficiency can lead to the thinning or atrophy of soft tissues: Lacking the usual elasticity and volume, the inside of your mouth becomes more susceptible to local mechanical injuries, causing a change in pain tolerance and problems in the use of removable prosthetics. With this diminished barrier, during the menopausal period, the mucosal epithelium is more vulnerable to infections, candidiasis, burning mouth syndrome, oral lichen planus (OLP), or idiopathic neuropathy, and all different kinds of recurrent inflammations. (See: Dental Monthly “Inflamm-ageing”)
2/Lessened secretions: Our Salivary glands are hormone-dependent which leads to changes in saliva secretion and its consistency. I have fully discussed Dry mouth (xerostomia) and some remedies (5) in the February issue of the Dental Monthly: “I am not in the desert…..” so see that article for more information.
But I would still stress the importance of tackling this problem because abundant saliva in your mouth has protective (teeth & gums) and digestive functions. With a lack of saliva, you risk a diminished perception of taste, bad breath, cavities, and gum disease.
3/ Very often we hear of on-set Osteoporosis in menopause, and that also concerns the hard tissues of the mouth. In fact, the bone in which our teeth are set with its special fibres (= periodontium) loses mineralization, resulting in an increased risk of periodontal disease in menopausal women. Symptoms like teeth that seem “longer” and “black triangles between teeth”, where before pink gums were present, indicate a general bone loss. Moreover, finding blood in the sink when you brush your teeth is another important alarm bell and means you definitely have to go to the Dentist.
4/Lips & Skin slowly undergo significant changes and in this period we start losing elasticity and volume. Everything shrinks and that is only natural. Still, I would like you to check your lips (outside & inside), and also your cheeks for colour alterations (red or white). These may be unidentified lesions that need to be checked by your Dentist if they do not go away within a week.
5/Induced Menopause happens in women going through chemotherapy, which is prescribed by an oncologist. In this case, the same symptoms as in physiological menopause, described above, will manifest. The Biphosphonates, which block bone metabolism, are usually present in these medication cocktails and it is mandatory for the patient to have all dental problems resolved before starting these intense therapies. Dental emergencies involving bone, like extractions, are absolutely contraindicated under chemotherapy.
What can we do?
A/I am convinced that knowledge helps to remove anxiety or fear of what is happening, so I advise you to read these Dental Monthly Newsletter articles which provide some information:
B/ Hormonal therapies, vitamins, and food supplements are quite often prescribed by the gynaecologist in order to reduce menopausal symptoms and on-set osteoporosis.
I personally believe mostly in the long-term benefits of the latter. Food supplements such as Omega3, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and B12. Vitamin C in particular is important for its anti-inflammatory capacities and positive effects on gum-health and oral soft tissues.
Sometimes family doctors prescribe long-term use of the already-mentioned Biphosphonates to counteract osteoporosis. Be sure and ask if they could be substituted by prescriptions with fewer side effects. Anyway, it is essential to inform your dentist of any medication you are using, because treatments like extractions or implant therapy in that case are at high risk of osteonecrosis.
C/ Many patients have asked me for Laser treatment to remove their wrinkles, but Studio Moll’s lasers are not for skin treatments. To answer the request we like to help your skin gradually with this transition with Ialuronic Acid Fillers. Thinning lips with barcode or marionette wrinkles may eventually appear in menopause. These deeper wrinkles and lines are easily removed, and the mouth is redefined in shape and volume, as are other areas of the face. It may be considered a deep hydrating therapy and the immediate radiant effect will stay for 6- 8 months
D/Due to the large variety of complaints and symptoms occurring in the oral cavity, menopausal women are a significant group of patients who should receive special preventive and therapeutic care in this particular period. So do not delay your Dental Check Up!
There are no rules. And there are many women who barely notice any changes or have any symptoms at all of this period called Menopause. This article aims to inform you about what might happen and that it is just the natural order of events.
We at Studio Moll feel that getting older and going through Menopause is just another stage of life that passes and will make us only more fascinating and wiser. ;))
For any questions, you can contact Studio Moll
Whatsapp: 331-6368628, or tel: 055-755347
By Dr. Elena Speranza Moll
Via Amilcare Ponchielli 21B, 50018 Scandicci –Firenze
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