Menopause Symptoms

Gum problems, increased bleeding



      Approximately 36 million women in the United States are in the postmenopausal phase of life. The vast majority of these women experienced spontaneous cessation of menses between the ages of 47 and 55 years when the production of estrogen decreased because of an inadequate number of functioning follicles within their ovaries.

     Fewer women entered menopause after surgical removal of both ovaries. 
This procedure usually is performed preventively to prevent ovarian cancer in conjunction with a hysterectomy, which is required to treat abnormal bleeding, endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.

     The physiological changes associated with spontaneous or surgical menopause cause some women to experience uncomfortable symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. In addition, estrogen deprivation arising from menopause in association with age-related factors disproportionately increases the risk of: 

  •  developing cardiovascular disease ( myocardial infarct, stroke)
  • osteoporosis
  • Alzheimer's disease 
  • oral disease. 
      Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT (estrogen or estrogen and progestin), often is prescribed on a short-term basis to alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms associated with estrogen deficiency and on a long-term basis to prevent some of the chronic illnesses common to postmenopausal women.

     Your dentist  needs to consider this stressful phase of life that you may be experiencing.  He may look for the following postmenopausal problems at your dental examination which may include: 

  • decrease in saliva flow
  • increased dental caries
  • dysesthesia
  • taste alterations
  • gingivitis
  • periodontal disease -at least 23 percent of women ages 30-54 have periodontitis and 44 percent of women ages 55-90 who still have their teeth have periodontitis. 
  • osteoporotic jaws unsuitable for conventional prosthetic devices or dental implants. 

 Panoramic dental radiographs may reveal calcified carotid artery atheromas. 

      Your dentist thus have an opportunity to refer women who are not under the care of a gynecologist for an evaluation to determine the appropriateness of HRT for its systemic and oral health benefits * because estrogen supplements may offer:

gum tissue benefits 

helps relieve the above symptoms 

help prevent against osteoporosis 

protect against losing your teeth.  

Menopause Dental UPDATE: 

Periodontal Disease and the Incidence of Tooth Loss in Postmenopausal Women

The study population included 106 dentate white postmenopausal women who participated in a cross-sectional study between 1989 and 1991 who were willing and eligible to have a repeat examination after 10 to 13 years. At baseline, full-mouth assessment of periodontal status was performed clinically and radiographically. Assessment of tooth loss during follow- up was assessed clinically by a periodontist. Odds ratio (OR) and its 95% confidence interval (CI) for each periodontal variable was obtained from separate multiple ;ogistic regression analyses adjusting for the effect of age, household income, smoking, hormone therapy, snack consumption, and number of decayed teeth. 
Periodontal disease, especially measured by alveolar bone loss, is a strong and independent predictor for incident tooth loss in postmenopausal women.Journal of Periodontology 2005, Vol. 76, No. 7,  Dr. Mine Tezal et al.J Periodontol 2005;76:1123-1128.

Effect of Alendronate on Periodontal Disease in Postmenopausal Women:

We investigated the effect of oral alendronate (ALN) treatment on radiological and clinical measurements of periodontaldisease in postmenopausal women without hormone replacement therapy. ALN treatment improved periodontal disease and bone turnover in postmenopausal women. 
 J Periodontol 2004; 75:1579-1585.Journal of Periodontology 2004, Vol. 75, No. 12, Pages 1579-1585 

Ladies Home Journal states: "Japanese researchers found that an X-ray known as a panoramic  radiograph detected signs of osteoporosis up to 87% of the time in  post menopausal women. 'What affects the quality of bone in the spine also affects the quality of bone in the rest of the body, including the jaw.'  " 

Oral Cancer Increasing In USA Oral cancer is on the increase among women over 40 because the numbers who smoke has increased. There is some evidence to suggest that tongue cancer among males under 40 could also be increasing. Early detection is key.  According to the American Cancer Society, oral cancer occurs almost as frequently as leukaemia and claims almost as many lives as melanoma cancer. The stage of an oral cancer diagnosis is critical. When detected at its earliest stage, oral cancer is more easily treated and cured. When detected late, its five-year survival rate is about 50 percent. Testing is painless and there is no question that early detection saves lives.

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