Dealing with changes in dental health after hysterectomy

20 January 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


With some surveys showing that 23% of women have dental issues after a hysterectomy, it's important for women who have just had a hysterectomy or are about have a hysterectomy to understand what the effect may be on their mouth and what they can do to control their dental health.

Why does hysterectomy lead to poor dental health?

While the overall cascade of hormonal changes caused by a hysterectomy is complex, there are some common factors including dry mouth and a loss of elasticity in soft tissues including gums. This can lead to a bacteria buildup and more exposure of the teeth at the gum line. These issues can work together to create a perfect storm of decay. Additionally, many women start to experience a loss of bone around menopause (whether natural or triggered by surgery), which can combine with recessed gums to loosen the fit of teeth into the jaw, which makes it easier for teeth to fall out.

What can you do to help your oral hygiene?

In order to conquer dry mouth, it can help to have small sips of water during the day. Some people also find it useful to chew on sugar-free gum and use special mouth washes to trigger more saliva flow in the mouth.

You'll also need to have extra focus on dental hygiene as gum recession and looser teeth may be unavoidable. Some people find it useful to move to a three-times-per-day brushing and flossing routine (and you may find you need to switch to a softer brush to avoid irritating sensitive gums). Your dentist can recommend some products that may be of use to help you with maintain dental health.

What can your dentist do to help?

Knowing that this is an issue, it's sensible to make regular 6-monthly checkups at the dentist and let them checkup your teeth for early issues. It can also help to get extra surface treatments such as fluoride varnishes to help protect the surface of the teeth from caries. The dentist can review your teeth brushing and flossing techniques during these appointments and help to perfect your hygiene routines so that you can do the best possible job keeping your mouth clean.

Even though hysterectomy can increase the risk of dental issues, by being aware of the potential of this side effect you can take measures with your dentist to manage your dental health proactively and avoid many problems.