A new study has evaluated around 500 women between the age of 50 and 87 and discovered that the rates of gum disease were lower in those receiving HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), with many seeing a 44% improvement in gum health.
HRT is credited with helping women manage a range of menopause-related issues including hot flushes, heart health and bone density.
The menopause commonly affects women in their late 40s and early 50s, and can leave women with a higher risk of multiple health issues, including gum disease. This is due to a decrease in oestrogen levels, with previous studies suggesting 28% of post-menopausal women are likely to suffer from tooth loss within five years.
The Oral Health Foundation is encouraging woman to be more aware of their oral health during this time and are offering advice about how to cope with such changes to the mouth.
Karen Coates, Oral Health Educator and Advisor for the Oral Health Foundation, said:
“Several significant changes occur in the body during the menopause and many have resulting symptoms which can have a substantial impact on a woman’s day-to-day life, so much so that oral health can at times feel like the least of their worries.
“Falling oestrogen levels throughout menopause can cause numerous health issues, such as loss of bone density, leading to osteoporosis. At the same time, changes in oral health also are common as teeth and gums become more susceptible to disease, resulting in heightened risk of inflammation, bleeding, pain, and ultimately, loose or missing teeth.”
Along with gum disease and tooth loss, menopausal woman can also be at heightened risk of other oral health conditions such as dry mouth, burning mouth syndrome and jaw bone weakness.
Helen Minnery, President of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, added:
“While HRT could offer women an opportunity to alleviate some painful symptoms, it is extremely important to continue maintaining a good oral health and hygiene routine during menopause.
“Brushing our teeth twice last thing at night and at one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste and reducing the amount of sugary foods and drinks we consume could make a significant difference in keeping any major problems at bay. Cleaning in between our teeth on a daily basis with interdental brushes or floss can also be of great benefit.
“Maintaining good oral hygiene throughout our lives is the best way to prevent the development of many oral health problems. It is important that we do not overlook the health of our mouth and remember, if you are in pain or discomfort please visit a dental professional. A visit to a dental hygienist or dental therapist could really help you and provide you with great advice too.”