Menopause is the start of hormone changes that end a woman’s menstrual cycle and her
fertility. Menopause can begin as early as the 40s, although the specific age that menopause
happens will vary from woman to woman.
Hormone changes—namely decreasing estrogen—in the body can impact a woman’s entire
body, including the oral cavity. Can menopause impact dental health? You might be surprised
to know that your teeth and gums may experience some changes with the onset of menopause.
Menopause May Cause Dry Mouth
Low levels of estrogen in the body can dry out mucous membranes, including the mouth.
Although not every woman will have dry mouth after menopause, some will experience
noticeable dryness that can impact chewing, swallowing, and speaking.
Dry mouth also affects tooth enamel. Saliva helps to protect our teeth from harmful acids and
bacteria. When the mouth is dry, bacteria are more likely to attack and damage tooth enamel,
which can lead to sensitive teeth and tooth decay.
Fortunately, staying hydrated can help, but visit your dentist if you’re worried that dry mouth is
impacting your smile!
Osteoporosis Can Affect Alveolar Bone
Estrogen doesn’t just help to keep the mucous membranes of the body moist—it also helps to
protect bone density. With a lack of estrogen in the body, menopause can often put women at
risk to experience osteoporosis, a condition in which bones can become thinner and more likely
However, osteoporosis can affect alveolar bone as well, which is the bone that helps support
teeth in the jaw. If alveolar bone becomes less dense, it can lead to loose teeth and even tooth
Getting regular checkups with your dentist can help detect any changes such as loose teeth to
help stop loss of bone density and protect your smile (and your body)!
Women May Experience an Increased Risk of Gum Disease After Menopause
Although menopause isn’t likely to cause gum disease, it can worsen existing gum disease. With
nearly half of all American adults having some form of gum disease, many people are living with
gum disease and don’t realize it.
Since menopause can lead to other oral cavity changes such as dry mouth, gum disease may get
worse with menopause. The gums may become more red and begin to pull back from the teeth,
causing tooth sensitivity and gum infections.
Gum disease can also contribute to loose teeth, so if you’re experiencing osteoporosis along
with gum disease after menopause, you may be at a higher risk for tooth loss. Gum disease can
be treated and even reversed, so talk with your dentist about your risk for this condition at your
Menopause brings many changes due to hormonal shifts in the body that end menstruation,
some of which may affect the oral cavity. However, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy
as you transition into menopause by visiting your dentist to take the best possible care of your