Ask Carrie – Receding Gums, Bad Breath – What’s the Matter with Me?

receding gums


I am about to turn 54 and have noticed over this past year, I’m developing bad breath, dry mouth and bleeding gums. My gums are also receding and I’m feeling insecure about smiling! I use an electric toothbrush and floss daily but nothing is helping.  What’s the matter with me?  Ruthie B., Moses Lake, WA


Ruthie, I feel your pain- and probably every Midlife woman reading this does too! Ever heard the expression ‘Long in the tooth’…? Well, we’re there.

With middle age comes receding gums, despite costly dental treatments, high end toothpastes, mouthwashes, bleaching kits and electric toothbrushes.

The simple fact of the matter is this: Midlife gum health is profoundly impacted by declining hormones, certain medical conditions and worsening nutritional deficiencies.

Yes, of course, regular dental checkups are important, but once hormones begin to decline, gum health can’t help but follow suit.

Estrogen, Progesterone, DHEA and Testosterone all have important roles to play in maintaining tissue integrity throughout the body. As these hormones shift and decline as we move through Menopause, our membranes dry out, shrivel and shrink. Gums included.

Ever wonder why it is Midlife women complain of dry eye, dry vaginal tissues, dry hair, brittle nails and receding gums? All these tissues rely heavily on hormones for regulation, moisture renewal and structural support.

Too, as hormones shift and decline, they impact thyroid function and also adrenal health. These glands are massively important to a woman’s overall health and are often overlooked in the grand scheme of things. They too, can cause myriad dental and general health and beauty problems as they suffer and decline.

Got fibroids and bleed heavily? Anemia can also cause gums to recede and impact overall dental health. So, too, can diseases like Celiac Disease, Irritable Bowel, Ulcerative Colitis and other autoimmune conditions like Sjogren’s disease.

Aside from visiting your dentist regularly, what to do?

Get all of your hormones checked, boost important nutrients in your diet, (such as Vitamin C, B vitamins, folate and iron (don’t take iron supplements if you are no longer menstruating. Get tested for all the forms of anemia before supplementing with iron), make sure you aren’t anemic, brush gently- even though you may use a high quality electric toothbrush, chew gum flavored with Xylitol instead of aspartame or sugar, gently floss daily, use antihistamines minimally and consider Oil Pulling to tighten gums and flush out bacteria. You can Google ‘Oil Pulling’ and learn all about it. It’s not a great way to start the day but it works wonders!

And the best advice I can give you is this: receding gums or not, SMILE. Often and A lot.

I hope this info helps you. Thanks for writing in with your question!

Carrie Pierce
Author: Carrie Pierce

Carrie Pierce has worked exclusively in the Health, Beauty and Entertainment industries for over 30 years. She’s a Licensed Aesthetician, Certified Color Analyst, former Hollywood Film and TV Makeup Artist, syndicated Radio Talk Show Host and a published Author, specializing in Midlife Health and Beauty issues. It’s Carrie’s mission -and her passion- to help make Midlife the very best it can be- for women and men everywhere!

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