Related Topics: Menopause, News, Treatments

If You Want To Keep Smiling Through Menopause – Get More Dental Checkups!

When I was a girl, it was not unusual to see women in their 50s and above with false teeth. If you want to avoid that then you need to take preventive action now.

AnnA Rushton

There’s a lot of attention paid now to the whiteness of our teeth and how brilliant our smile is and frankly false teeth are not something anyone willingly seeks out. The expertise and technology of dentistry has improved hugely so that a full set of false teeth is less common than it used to be but there is a new warning for women who want to retain their own teeth throughout their life.

According to a new study from the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic it appears that brushing, flossing and two checkups a year may not be enough to prevent tooth loss in postmenopausal women. The researchers found that two groups of postmenopausal women – those taking bisphosphonates (for osteoporosis) and those with normal bones – had abnormally high levels of dental plaque, a film of bacteria, bacterial waste and food particles that sticks to teeth.

All of these women had carried out the standard advice on taking care of their teeth: brushing twice a day, flossing and having two dental checkups a year. In fact, in my experience, that is more than the average woman undertakes but it seems that even all of that was not sufficient to keep plaque in check.

Because plaque sticks to teeth, it sets in motion the conditions that cause gum disease. This in turn is a process that can erode the sockets that anchor teeth and lead to tooth loss.

There are some sensible precautions that you can take to avoid losing your teeth at or after the menopause. The first is never to finish a meal with any sweet or sugary substance without cleaning your teeth immediately afterwards. Another is that you actually increase your checkups to at least four a year and to make sure that they include deep periodontal cleaning to control plaque. Then you can happily smile your way through the menopause.

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