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dental woes and menopause

Posted by janeinspace (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 4, 02 at 22:38

After reading some of the posts here, I feel I can maybe vent without sounding like a neurotic. I went through menopause about 4 years ago... I am now 52. Since then I have had thousands of dollars worth of root canals, crowns and partials. After the last temporary partial was done, I developed what the dentist told me was lichen planus ... weird white striations in my mouth....and dry tissue in the mouth.... I also get annoyingly painful sores near my gums or on the roof of my mouth occasionally .... I know this sounds strange but I'd swear I react to certain spicy foods... like some cheese puffs and wasabi paste (which i LOVE).... It's driving my nuts. Oddly enough, I also had some weird coin shaped exczema thing on my legs last year that went away with a topical cortizone cream. I think it's all linked to the hormonal changes of menopause... though i am on HRT. Can anyone relate? Also = wicked leg cramps sometimes at I had when I was a kid!... My dentist has never mentioned menopause to me... but it seems like a match to me! Would love to hear from anyone with any similar complaints.... at first I thought it was some kind of allergy to dental preparations ....

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: dental woes and menopause

Yes, I can relate to the occasional, but more frequent, mouth sores (seem to come in crops at a certain time of the month, but not every month) and lots of leg cramps now. I, also, get a weird, itchy rash over my chin and neck which lasts about 4 days and then dries up. Nothing really helps just resolves after a short time. It's odd that you mentioned coin-shaped spots. I had a silver dollar sized coin shaped itchy spot on my upper chest for about 2 weeks and then it finally went away.


RE: dental woes and menopause

The dental problems are one of my biggest fears. I asked my dentist (yes girls, he's young and good-looking, too!) what the cause of menopausal tooth loss is and he told me it's part of the osetoporosis thing. Your jaw shrinks with the rest of your bones, your teeth don't fit well and loosen. The best defense is calcium (or whatever you are using to battle osteoporosis) in good dental hygiene.

I actually stopped getting the sores when I started menopause. When I was young and fertile I could predict my periods by the sores (and the constipation). The OB said it had to do with fluctuating hormone levels and stress, which was a major player. The week of my finals before graduating from college, I had a mouth full of bleeders!


RE: dental woes and menopause

I did a thread on dental problem about two years ago.. maybe at least 18 months ago.

Yes, I have had a lifetime of virtually no cavities and have always practiced good oral health regimes. Brushing and flossing, water picking and washcloth massaging.. the works.

About three years ago.. he cavities started, and my need to root canals and caps. Just the other day, my bottom molar was painful and I just stopped into the dentist. He looked at my molar and said it was alright, probably something had gotten stuck in there. But, he said that in just the last six months my gums have really changed and asked if I was under stress or have had an illness.

I asked him if it could be menopause. Know what his answer was to me? He is my age.. and still a hunk AND I know his wife and kids. Anyway, he said, there is no concrete medical evidence to say that menopause does or doesn't affect your mouth (meaning my dental stuff.. I have learned to curse now that I am older and more irritable.. my mouth has gotten worse.). However, [my wife] is like you, she thinks there is a direct relationship and from looking at the two of you and what you say, I am not going to argue. I can't prove it, but I think there is something to it.

Now.. is that a dentist who has been through the Modern Day Meno School for Men or what!?

RE: dental woes and menopause

Doesn't it just make you NUTS!?? I think dentists should pass out a "now we are in menopause" pamphlet or something.... I felt like I was doing something terribly wrong to be having all these dental problems... but I am hearing now that it is SOOOO common in menopause! I got the same "something stuck under your tooth" routine recently when my gum BLEWUP around a molar. I left, after an xray and a pat on the back.... but ended up calling the next afternoon for a z-pack antibiotic because it was NOT getting any better (rinses, peroxide etal)... and that did the trick! Let me just say that for all the money and time I've put into my MOUTh, I'd realllllly like to keep these teeth awhile longer!!!! :)

RE: dental woes and menopause

I just have to join in on this one. It seems like some of us can relate to every single issue raised on this forum! I had fillings in all my molars and a couple of my front teeth too that occured mostly during chilhood and adolescence. Then a period of just occassional problems for years and years. When menopause hit, I began to get cavitites along the gum line and between the teeth no matter what I did to keep them clean. The dentist I had then accused me of neglecting my oral hygiene so I found another dentist. The problems continue to haunt me. I recently had oral surgery around a back molar that my dentist wanted to crown, but the gum needed revision first. That oral surgeon said it was a bad candidate for a crown because the tooth "had movement". After the surgery he said I had a lot of bone loss in the jaw. This is so discouraging. I too have put thousands of dollars into my teeth. I see my parents (in their 80's) with poor fitting dentures and I do not want to end up like that. They can't eat anything but soft food anymore and my Mom doesnt talk the same since her last dentures were made.

I can only hope that some day there will be enough women in research to get money to look into all these hormonally related effects.

RE: dental woes and menopause

Well, I'd like to volunteer for any study!!! I can relate to all you've said and am trying to find answers. Frankly, I'm sick of going to doctors who poo-poo everything you tell them!

RE: dental woes and menopause

Due to an unfortunate encounter with stage 4 endometriosis, I underwent a complete hysterctomy at 33. From there my health in general went completely off the grid, ranging from congestive heart failure, deep vein thrombosis, to osteoporosis. As a kid I had the best dental care at UNC-Chapel Hill's dental clinic from age 6-14. From there I had the standard braces for 2 years, but an unfortunate car accident where I sailed through the windshield due to a faulty seat belt lead to maxiofacial surgery on both upper and lower jaws.
After the hysterctomy, within 6 months my teeth began to crumble en masse and within 2 years, I had lost 3.5 inches in height even with hormone replacement therapy, vitamin therapy, diet modifications, numerous root canals,
and bi-monthly dental check-ups. I began developing extremely painful absesses that required antibiotics. And still my teeth continued to disentegrate. When I asked my family dr if there was any correlation with menopause and teeth loss, he broke out into laughter..."of course there is no correlation; that's patently absurd!" I felt like an idiot and all the more hopeless. However, my dentist said that the destruction of my teeth was due to nerve/root death. And due to the quirky turns of life, I had neither the funds nor the time to pursue dentures. At the lowest point, I had lost 28 teeth. I felt like a freak show. I stopped smiling, laughing in public because of the way my predicament was received. I was treated like a bafoon, and I lost my teaching job of 13 years, yet I have a Master's in English Literature.
Research needs to be pursued with respect to menopause and dental problems. To others in a similar place in their lives, don't take "No" for a thorough or representative answer, and most of all, know that you are not alone, and most certainly not an anomalie of science.

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