Around 68% of patients with gingivitis are women, and they are especially susceptible to such problems during menopause, when hormone levels are in a state of flux. Since estrogen and progesterone affect all aspects of oral health - blood circulation in the gums, jawbone strength, and even the immune system - it is possible to treat and lessen gum problems by addressing this underlying hormonal imbalance. Keep reading to learn about the three approaches to treating gum problems during menopause.
Three Approaches to Treating Gum Problems
When looking to manage gum problems, three approaches can be considered: (1) Lifestyle Changes, (2) Alternative Medicine, and (3) Medications and Surgery.
Whenever addressing oral health matters, it is always recommended to see a dentist. However, women can generally control minor gum problems and prevent them from progressing to a more severe issue without the use of medications, which carry the most risk of the three approaches. Generally, women are advised to start with the least-risky form of treatment, lifestyle changes.
1. Lifestyle Changes
The first approach involves the least amount of risk, but it also demands the most self-discipline. Often, simple lifestyle adjustments can help women achieve a higher level of both oral and overall health.
Eating a well-balanced diet is essential in the face of gum problems. Calcium from foods like dairy and leafy greens help keeps bones and teeth strong. Deficiencies in vitamins A and C can negatively impact the gums and other soft tissues, so it is important to eat enough fruits and vegetables. In addition, vitamin C is essential for the immune system, helping to fight against oral bacteria. Foods rich in phytoestrogens - like soy, flaxseed, and peas - can moderately raise estrogen levels. Finally, it is best to minimize sugar intake, since bacteria feed on it and eventually damage the gums.
Good Foods for Managing Gum Problems
- Citrus fruits
- Lean red meat
- Almond milk
- Leafy greens
Finally, maintaining healthy habits also helps to manage gum problems. An oral hygiene routine - brushing and flossing at least twice a day - helps to remove the particles that bacteria feed on. Getting enough quality sleep every night and reducing stress benefit the immune system. Likewise, it is necessary to eliminate bad habits, such as smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, which tend to inflame the gums and make problems worse.
Although lifestyle changes are a healthy way to treat gum problems, they can be difficult to implement. In addition, not all of the above adjustments address hormonal imbalance, the underlying cause of many case of menopausal gum issues. Fortunately, alternative treatments provide a safe and effective way to balance hormones. Keep reading to find out more about natural medicine for gum problems.
2. Alternative Medicines
This approach encompasses many different treatment options, such as aromatherapy, homemade ointments, and herbal supplements. Of these, herbal supplements are the prime choice, since they are simpler to follow, require less time and money in comparison with other alternatives, and some types can even balance hormone levels.
Antimicrobial Herbal Supplements
- Garlic extract
- Aloe vera
- Calendula mouthwash
Particularly, the two kinds of herbal supplements that affect hormone levels are (1) phytoestrogenic and (2) hormone-regulating supplements.
1. Phytoestrogenic supplements - e.g., soy
These supplements contain phytoestrogens, molecules from plants that function like estrogen in the body. This can boost estrogen levels and help relieve gum problems. However, introducing outside hormones into the body can lower its ability to produce natural hormones, so these supplements should not be used for prolong periods in order to avoid an estrogen decline in the long run.
2. Hormone-regulating supplements - e.g., Macafem
Instead of containing external hormones, these supplements benefit the endocrine system by nourishing the glands with the nutrients they need to produce the right balance of hormones. This balances both estrogen levels and those of other hormones, tackling gum problems at the source. Additionally, these supplements carry little to no side effects, so they can be taken as long as necessary.
From "Nature and Health Magazine," Dr. Gloria Chacon says:
"Macafem nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production by inducing the optimal functioning of the endocrine glands."Read more about Macafem.
A combination of the approaches above is what works best for many women treating gum issues. However, when pain and inflammation persist, dental or medical care may be necessary to restore oral health. Steps should be taken to prevent the need for the last approach, since it is the riskiest and most invasive.
3. Medications and Surgery
The last approach involves the greatest risk, and it is typically the most expensive and most invasive. When treating gum problems caused by hormonal imbalance, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is commonly prescribed. While it can be a speedy and powerful way of boosting estrogen levels and relieving discomfort in the gums, it also increases the risk of breast cancer and other diseases, as the following study showed.
In 1991, the National Institutes of Health commenced the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), the biggest clinical trial ever performed in the U.S. Its aim was to indentify the drawbacks and benefits of HRT. However, after 11 years of research, the WHI was stopped early due to the findings that synthetic hormones used for extended periods increase the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, stroke, blood clots, and heart disease. These results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Because of the WHI, many doctors are now reconsidering the use of HRT.
Specific Periodontal Medications and Procedures
While balancing hormone levels can help prevent and reduce gum disease, in cases where gum disease has progressed significantly, medications may be necessary. Common medications include:
Antibiotics. Antibiotics come in the form of pills, gel, mouthwash, and microspheres. Microspheres are inserted into periodontal pockets by a dentist.
Antiseptic chip. This is put into pockets to halt bacterial overgrowth and reduce the size of the pockets.
Enzyme suppressants. These inhibit enzymes that break down gum tissue.
For advanced gum disease, surgical procedures such as root canals, flap surgery, and jawbone grafts are all possibilities. However, they are usually painful, expensive, and invasive. For this reason, preventative measures are crucial, but when gum disease has significantly progressed, surgery may be necessary to correct the problem. It is important to always consult a doctor or dentist if gum issues persist.
The above approaches are not mutually exclusive, and they can be blended as necessary to relieve symptoms. In fact, more and more women are finding that a combination of lifestyle changes along with alternative medicines is the most effective means of managing gum problems.
A Safe Way of Treating Gum Problems
Making lifestyle adjustments:
- Exercising regularly
- Getting sufficient quality sleep each night
- Brushing and flossing twice daily
- Eating a balanced diet that includes estrogen-boosting foods
- Excess amounts of sugar
- Alcohol and tobacco
- High stress levels
- Letting the problem progress
And taking herbal supplements, like Macafem:
- Rich in nutrients that support steady hormone production
- Natural, effective, and virtually free of adverse side effects
- Dutt, P. , Chaudhary, S.R. & Kumar, P. (2013). Oral Health and Menopause: A Comprehensive Review on Current Knowledge and Associated Dental Management. Annals of Medical & Health Sciences Research, 3(3), 320-323. doi: 10.4103/2141-9248.117926
- López-Marcos, J.F. , García-Valle, S. & García-Iglesias, A.A. (2005). Periodontal aspects in menopausal women undergoing hormone replacement therapy. Medicina oral, patología oral y cirugía bucal, 10(2), 132-141. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15735546
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. (2013). Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments. Retrieved April 25, 2016, from http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/Topics/GumDiseases/PeriodontalGumDisease.htm