Dry Mouth During Menopause: A Patient’s Guide

Between the hot flashes, dry skin, and changes in physique that come with menopause, the last thing you want is another symptom to worry about. However, it is certainly worth your while to be aware of dry mouth during menopause and how to deal with it. Here's what you need to know:

Why is dry mouth during menopause such a concern?

Dry mouth is not just a minor annoyance you can sweep under the carpet and try to ignore. When your mouth is dry, it becomes a very appealing breeding grounds for oral bacteria – and oral bacteria cause gum disease and tooth decay. Leave your dry mouth unaddressed, and you increase your chance of needing dentures or implants down the road.

How do you know if you have dry mouth?

Many women with dry mouth know they have it simply because their mouth feels  -- well – dry. However, there are a number of other symptoms to watch out for, including:

  • Chronic bad breath
  • Trouble eating and swallowing dry foods, such as crackers
  • Frequent thirst
  • A red, raw tongue
  • A tingling sensation in the mouth, especially around the tongue

What causes dry mouth during menopause?

Like the other symptoms of menopause, dry mouth is caused by the changes in hormone levels you're experiencing at this stage of life. Estrogen is responsible for activating mucous membranes and lubricating glands, such as the salivary glands. When levels of estrogen fall during menopause, salivary production decreases, leading to dry mouth.

Some women also begin taking new mediations, such as those for hypertension, migraines, or nausea, during menopause. Some of these medications may have dry mouth as a side effect.

How will your dentist treat dry mouth during menopause?

If your dentist feels that a medication you are taking may be contributing to the problem, he or she may collaborate with your doctor to find an alternative drug that's a better fit. If you choose to undergo hormone replacement therapy, this should help increase your saliva production.

Your dentist can also recommend rinses and creams to help increase saliva production. In severe cases, a prescription drug, like atropine, may be used to increase saliva production.

If you're entering menopause, keep a close watch for signs of dry mouth. Speak to your dentist sooner rather than later if you think you may be developing this symptom. Doing so may help save your teeth and gums. For more information, talk to a company like Mammoth Spring Dental Clinic LLC.