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    Hormones and Oral Health

    When Are Women More at Risk for Oral Health Problems? continued...

    Menopause 

    Numerous oral changes can occur as a consequence of advanced age, the medications taken to combat diseases, and hormonal changes due to menopause. These oral changes can include altered taste, burning sensations in the mouth, greater sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages, and decreased salivary flow that can result in dry mouth.

    Dry mouth, in turn, can result in the development of tooth decay and gum disease, because saliva is not available to moisten and cleanse the mouth by neutralizing acids produced by plaque. Dry mouth can also result from many prescription and over-the-counter medications that are commonly prescribed to older adults.

    The decline in estrogen that occurs with menopause also puts women at greater risk for loss of bone density. Loss of bone, specifically in the jaw, can lead to tooth loss. Receding gums can be a sign of bone loss in the jawbone. Receding gums also expose more of the tooth surface to potential tooth decay.

    Tips to Prevent Oral Health Problems

    Some tips for preventing oral health problems like gum disease and tooth decay include:

    • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. Floss and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash at least once a day.
    • Visit your dentist twice a year for a professional oral examination and cleaning.
    • Eat a well balanced diet.
    • Avoid sugary or starchy snacks.
    • Ask your dentist if he or she thinks you should use an antimicrobial mouth rinse.
    • If you have dry mouth, ask your dentist about treatments for this condition, such as artificial saliva. Biotene is one such product and is available over the counter.

     

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Michael Friedman, DDS on January 27, 2015
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    How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

    Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

    SOURCES:

    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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