Senior woman using digital tablet on armchair at home

Fatigue, mood changes, and hot flashes are just some of the many symptoms that commonly accompany menopause. Physicians can easily identify these telltale symptoms based on a patient’s age and medical history.

Hormone Replacement Therapy Can Help

When symptoms start to interfere with a patient’s daily life, doctors can prescribe hormone replacement therapy to help women better adjust to these sudden changes. This type of therapy is more commonly prescribed today than ever before, as doctors see the additional benefits, such as helping to prevent osteoporosis and other significant medical conditions.

In fact, estrogen deficiency may actually be the root cause for the development of periodontal disease in menopausal and post-menopausal women, according to a study recently published in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. Doctors often see bone loss and osteoporosis in women around this age, which can also include the alveolar, or jaw bone.

Loss Of Bone Density Linked to Tooth Loss

Loss of bone density in the alveolar bone has also been linked to periodontal ligament loss, which leads to permanent tooth loss in seniors. Your West Linn dentist usually becomes leery of a potential hormonal issue in patients who have developed periodontal disease without ever having a previous history of gum disease.

If Dr. Dugger notices a significant difference in bone density in and surrounding the teeth in older female patients, he may need to have a conversation about the potential risks of gum disease menopause can cause. Additionally, Dr. Dugger may need to know more about the different types of medications a patient is taking to determine whether she is receiving hormonal therapy. If a patient isn’t taking anything to replace the hormones lost during menopause, it may be in her best interest to speak to her physician about hormonal replacement therapy, say researchers.

In addition to helping reduce the symptoms associated with menopause and lower the risk of gum disease, hormonal therapy significantly lowers a woman’s risk of developing colorectal disease and bone fracture, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Researchers encourage health professionals to present patients with the full spectrum of information regarding the potential benefits of hormone therapy so the patient can make the most informed decision possible about whether such treatment would meet her lifestyle needs.

Potential Oral Health Benefits

While it might seem odd for an oral health specialist like Dr. Dugger to recommend a patient consider hormone replacement therapy instead of a general practitioner, researchers involved in the Cleveland Clinic study say that the potential oral health benefits a patient could receive from this type of therapy makes such an inquiry worthwhile.

For example, a study conducted by the Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology found that over 25 percent of menopausal women suffer from tooth loss. Another study published earlier this year found that menopausal women have twice the risk of developing severe problems with periodontal disease if they don’t receive hormone replacement therapy.

With a topic as sensitive as menopause, our patients can feel confident that their West Linn family dentist, Dr. Dugger, will always approach this subject with discretion and sensitivity. Making our patients aware of what’s best for their oral health is always our top priority. If our team can prompt a patient to receive the medical care they need to enjoy better oral health and quality of life, we are honored to do it.

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