Menopause and Oral Health

Jul 1, 2019

There are so many different phases in a woman’s life: pre-puberty in childhood, puberty in adolescence, menses and pregnancy in adulthood and mid-life. Menopause generally occurs when women reach 47-55 years old and adjusting to the changes it brings can be complicated and distressing.

The changes in your hormone levels during menopause can affect many different areas of your life, including your oral health. Here’s a quick guide on the possible changes in your mouth you may expect when you hit menopause and what you can do about them.

Menopausal Gingivostomatitis

Big words for a simple problem. Gingivitis is when your gums are infected due to poor dental hygiene. They become tender, red and puffy, and they bleed easily. Well, menopausal gingivostomatitis are those same symptoms but brought on by menopause.

The good news is that it’s manageable. Just ask your dentist about the medication they would recommend to treat this condition. If not dealt with, it may progress to periodontitis which would be severe gum disease, to the point of irreversible damage to your gums

Burning Mouth Syndrome

Unfortunately, the effects of burning mouth syndrome (BMS) are as uncomfortable as the name suggests. There’s no definitive cause apart from the hormonal fluctuations you experience during menopause.

Symptoms include:

  • heightened oral sensitivity to extreme temperatures and tenderness
  • everything tasting notably:
    • salty
    • peppery
    • sour
    • bitter
    • metallic
    • odd
  • your mouth (including lips, cheeks, palate, tongue, and throat) feeling:
    • burning
    • tender
    • hot
    • scalding
    • numb
  • increased thirst
  • dry mouth
  • possible loss of taste

You can experience different patterns of your symptoms appearing:

  • occurring every day or every few days
  • the discomfort getting worse throughout the day
  • the symptoms are at a consistent level throughout the day
  • coming and going

Consult your dentist about the recommended treatment. Unfortunately, there’s no known way to absolutely prevent BMS but you can avoid certain things to reduce/manage your discomfort:

  • tobacco
  • acidic foods and drinks
  • spicy foods
  • carbonated drinks
  • excessive stress

Dry Mouth

Saliva is necessary to your oral health. Saliva washes away any wanted bacteria, acids, and food particles left in your mouth, and assists with chewing and swallowing. With reduced saliva, you increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Drink a lot of water to counteract dry mouth. Thoroughly rinse your mouth with water after you eat, and keep vigilant with your brushing and flossing. You can also speak to your dentist about your condition so they can advise you on any other appropriate treatment (such as particular medications that can deal with dry mouth).


Osteoporosis is most commonly associated with brittle bones in limbs and joints, but it can also affect your mouth too. Specifically, osteoporosis can have a detrimental impact on your jaw bone, teeth, and even gums.

As your jaw and teeth lose minerals, particularly calcium, there’s a reduction in bone density, resulting in brittleness. This brittleness can lead to easily chipped teeth, tooth loss, and gum reduction.

Inform your dentist if you do suffer from osteoporosis as it will affect the medications you take as well as some dental treatments (such as extractions and surgical procedures).