Did you know that menopause can also affect the health of teeth and gums? It’s to do with hormonal changes that impact on the mouth and its saliva output.
Here are some top tips for keeping your mouth in good condition while going through this tricky life stage.
1. Toothpaste with fluoride
Make sure to stick with a toothpaste that contains fluoride for the best defence against plaque.
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2. Eat well
The menopause can cause some women’s tastes and cravings to change – just remember, regularly snacking, particularly on foods high in sugar, salt and acid, is not good for your teeth. Try raw veg and nuts instead.
3. Go electric
Investing in an electric toothbrush – one that has a sensor which alerts you if you are brushing too hard – will help keep plaque at bay more efficiently and expertly than a manual brush, and boost gum health.
4. Collagen boosts
Oestrogen levels fall during menopause, which can leave collagen levels low. Gums depend on collagen to stay in place, without it, our teeth can move and become overcrowded. There are collagen supplements available, but they are often expensive. Try a retainer, which can help keep teeth in place.
5. Drink water and herbal teas
Soft drinks are full of enamel-rotting sugars. Keep your mouth in tip-top condition by drinking herbal teas (rather than fruit ones) and good old plain water.
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6. Avoid alcohol
Menopause weakens teeth, making enamel more vulnerable to wear, tear and staining. Cut out alcohol, which is acidic and high in sugar as well.
7. Saliva sprays
Many women experience dry skin during menopause, and this can also affect the mouth. A dry mouth means less saliva, and it’s saliva that keeps teeth and gums moist and surrounded by the right bacteria. Visit your pharmacy for a saliva spray to help things get back to normal.
8. Don’t grind
Grinding your teeth is a bad habit that can lead to shortened teeth, damaged enamel and tender nerves – made worse during menopause because of reduced collagen, meaning teeth are more likely to move around. Get to the root of the problem by finding a way to de-stress and relax, particularly before bed.
If grinding is still a problem, visit your dentist who will be able to give you a retainer, which will protect teeth while you sleep.