There are lots of ways you know you might be entering menopause: your periods have become irregular, your sleep isn't great and the calendar is inching toward 50. But there's one sign that your dentist can detect and that is the state of your gums and a possible problem with your teeth.
That's right – your gums.
Dentists say they often notice that as women approach the age for menopause, their gum tissues becomes more swollen or there's unusual bleeding.
There's also a higher risk of gum disease caused by plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. You already know that you need to remove plaque by daily brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentist to get rid of plaque build-up. This is especially important as you approach menopause.
The hormonal fluctuations preceding menopause can make gums even more sensitive to plaque, which can create a problem for your teeth. Left untreated, plaque irritates and inflames gums. As the disease progresses, your gums separate from your teeth and form little pockets where more bacteria grows. Dental x-rays can also show something about the health of your bones. Loose teeth could also be a sign of thinning bones.
So put a dental appointment on your list of New Year's resolutions. It's an easy one to keep.