Menopause and Loss of Teeth: The Surprising Connection

 

Loss of teeth is one of the many things that can greatly affect one’s self esteem. This is especially true for women. The loss of one tooth could easily destabilize the beauty of your smile and the rest of the teeth in the mouth. The remaining teeth often shift out of their alignment and become more prone to tooth decay and gum disease. The pains that accompany tooth loss are unexplainable. Coupled with menopausal symptoms, a menopausal woman suffering from tooth loss endures a lot. There has been a lot of research work going on to determine the relationship between tooth loss and menopause.

Menopause and Loss of Teeth

According to the revelations of researches conducted in more than 1000 women, around 300 women lost their teeth in the five year duration for which the research was conducted. This figure makes of 25 percent of women at risk of teeth loss. This was according to a study conducted and published in the Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology. The loss of teeth in these women was believed to have been caused by the hormonal changes that come with menopause. Other risk factors associated with tooth loss included; being overweight, smoking, diabetes and poor oral hygiene.


Symptoms

The symptoms of teeth loss include;

  • A sharp pain in the teeth when taking cold or hot substances
  • A continuous excruciating pain
  • Tooth decay
  • Swelling of gums that could be red and
  • Final removal of teeth among other symptoms

Causes

There are several causes of tooth loss. Congenital absence where the milk teeth lack replacement and trauma where one could undergo physical injury that leaves them toothless are some of the symptoms for tooth loss. But the leading cause of tooth loss has been said to be dental diseases (periodontal disease). This is an infection that is localized to the gums and the supporting structures for teeth. With the effect on the gums and supporting structures, the teeth may fall out or the infection could easily lead to tooth extraction.

Why Menopause Causes Tooth Loss

During menopause, the levels of estrogen decline systematically. This could lead to systematic loss of teeth.

Recently studies have tried to link tooth loss with the declining estrogen levels in women especially at post-menopausal stages of their lives. Just like declining estrogen levels lead to loss in born density and osteoporosis, the same effect could lead to tooth loss.

Statistics indicate that for every 1% decrease in the bone mineral density for the whole body per year, there is likely to be more than four times risk for tooth loss. In fact, according to research, women with severe osteoporosis were three times at risk of having fewer teeth compared to their healthy counterparts within the same age range.

Periodontitis has been said to be the leading cause for tooth loss. The susceptibility for periodontitis is said to increase with and after menopause.

These studies seem to confirm that there is a relationship between declining estrogen levels and tooth loss.

Teeth Loss and Hormonal Changes

Research done on menopausal women produced the following findings;
Postmenopausal women deficient in estrogen were reported to have more sites with increased net loss of alveolar bone density with each follow-up visit while patients with sufficient estrogen levels were reported not to have lost any bone density during the one year period.

Even with supportive periodontal therapy, women with low estrogen levels were still reported to having lost their bone density.

In a three year randomized trial, estrogen replacement therapy was said to have improved bone density in postmenopausal women. In another study women on estrogen hormone therapy were found to have more teeth than those who were not on hormone therapy.

Risk Factors for Tooth loss

The following are the risk factors for tooth loss;

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes and
  • Heart disease among others

Prevention and medication

Most doctors administer a biphosphate drug for tooth related ailments. Doctors should also be open to the fact that menopause could be the cause for tooth loss and administer hormonal therapy to complement their treatment.

Menopausal women often have a choice in maintaining good oral hygiene that will protect them from tooth loss. Here are a number of measures that a menopausal woman and every other woman would take to ensure they are safeguarded against tooth loss.

  • Regular Visits to the Dentists. Regular visits to the dentist ensure that your dentine receives proper care. There are areas of your teeth that a tooth brush may not reach; professional cleaning will ensure that there is no chance of infection and decay.
  • Maximum Oral Hygiene. Brushing after every meal and flossing daily are a must for maintain maximum oral cleanliness.
  • Change of Tooth Brush. It is recommended that a tooth brush is used three to four months.
  • Maintain a Balanced Diet
  • Avoid Smoking

Conclusion

Tooth loss has affected many women, it is important that every woman takes precaution and takes proper care of their oral hygiene to avoid tooth loss.

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Author

Expert Author : Kathy Parks (Consumer Health Digest)

Kathy Parks is a graduate who enjoys writing on different topics including men’s and women’s health, beauty and fitness. Being a mother and wife-she drives so much strength and inspiration from the desire to have a healthy family. Her health writings are done with the same passion-to ensure healthy family members. She is contributing to Consumer Health Digest for different categories.