Menopause could be the real cause of bad breath

It’s an embarrassing problem to have, a problem no one wants to admit. Yet everyone asks themselves this question from time to time: “Does my breath stink?” The particularly respiratory paranoids among us may have a habit of carrying mints, gum, and even a travel toothbrush everywhere we go, and some have even been known to breathe into the face of a loved one. trust and ask them for the truth. (Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.)

Women over 45, in particular, are prone to bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, and it may have nothing to do with them having eaten onions recently, whether they brushed their teeth enough or used mouthwash. If you are struggling with this problem, there is no reason to be ashamed; the nasty fumes coming out of your mouth are probably not your fault at all. Read on to find out what could be giving you that nagging dragon breath and how to fight it.

RELATED: If Your Breath Smells Like This, Get Your Liver Checked, Experts Say. / Shutterstock

Onions and garlic have a bad reputation for causing bad breath, and while that’s true, a dry mouth may more often be to blame. And for postmenopausal women, a so-called “cotton mouth” comes with the territory due to the drop in estrogen levels during this period. This leads to notorious symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and hazy memory. But a lesser-known side effect of this hormonal change is decreased saliva production, which can leave you with bad breath.

“I’ve had several patients with dry mouth and bad breath due to menopause,” says Whitney Rose Di Foggio HDR, BS (also known as YouTube”Teeth Talking Girl“). “This is mainly due to the lack of estrogen, which can have the side effect of xerostomia, also known as dry mouth.”

Nor is menopause the only time when hormones can disrupt your breathing. The start of your period, pregnancy, and things like taking hormonal birth control can all affect your saliva production and therefore your breathing. “Saliva is important for the health of the mouth because it eliminates bacteria and food,” explains Venus Patti, DDS. “A dry mouth can cause bad breath and dental problems.”

Basically, whenever your estrogen levels go out of whack, you might notice your mouth getting dry and your breath getting a little stinky.

older white woman brushing her teeth in the mirror

While hormonal changes are a common culprit of halitosis, it’s important not to assume that’s the cause, even if you’re a woman going through menopause. Other causes of bad breath include tonsils (that’s when food particles get stuck in your tonsils and harden into foul-smelling calcium deposits), gum disease, diabetes, sinus infections, and even cancer, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Of course, the number one reason for bad breath is poor oral hygiene, so make sure the first step you take to combat bad breath is to brush your teeth at least twice a day. floss regularly and use mouthwash. You don’t know in which order to do everything? Todd ChatkinDDS, says Today that flossing should come first, and that you should do this for a good five minutes before brushing your teeth. However, Catherine Austin, DDS, told the show it didn’t really matter. “I don’t care what order you do it in, just do it,” she said.

older woman touching her jaw looking concerned
ShotPrime Studio / Shutterstock

Bad breath is annoying and embarrassing, sure, but there are more serious issues at play for women going through menopause. The drop in estrogen causes two main changes that are of concern to dentists, Patti explains: dry mouth and bone loss. “Up to 25% of postmenopausal women are at an increased risk of losing their teeth,” says Patti. “They are also at risk for gum disease and tooth decay.”

Patti suggests that women talk to their doctors about treatments to prevent tooth loss. “New research also indicates that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help prevent many post-menopausal problems like reduced bone density,” she says. “This will help reduce the risk of tooth loss and gum disease.”

RELATED: For more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Woman at the dentist

Gum and mints can only go so far in masking a case of hormonal halitosis. Along with practicing good oral hygiene (flossing, brushing, and mouthwash), drinking plenty of water can help you stay hydrated and relieve your dry mouth. “Water helps lubricate your mouth and gives your body the fluid it needs to turn over and produce more saliva,” says DiFoggio.

And of course, regular dental visits are essential. “Menopausal women should pay more attention to their oral health by visiting their dentist regularly and addressing issues as they arise,” says Patti. “Getting diagnosed early when it comes to gum or periodontal disease is key to resolving it.”

Healthline advises that sleeping with your mouth open can also contribute to bad breath. Also, stay away from tobacco, which is known to cause bad breath. If the problem persists, don’t be shy about talking to your doctor or dentist. They can help you!

RELATED: This is the absolute worst time to brush your teeth, dentists say.

Comments are closed.