Menopause, a phase of life all women must go through, yet many of the symptoms are not frequently discussed. As your dental professionals, we’re here to speak specifically about the oral health impacts of menopause on women. Not only does our oral health change as we age, but for women, menopause brings additional concerns. Each day about 3,000 women reach menopause age, but the manifestations of menopause in oral health are even less widely discussed than overall symptoms. We’d like to bring to light some common ones below so you will better know what to expect.
Xerostomia (Dry Mouth)
Dry mouth is something we commonly discuss in our blog posts, but it truly is a real concern especially as we age. The important thing to remember is that dry mouth can rapidly advance tooth decay leading to multiple cavities and pain if not treated early. Menopause can exaggerate the symptoms of dry mouth. Read through this post to learn how to cope with dry mouth and decrease the risk of decay that accompanies it.
As women go through the stages of menopause hormones start to decrease over time, most notably estrogen and progesterone . This decline in hormones contributes to the occurrence of Osteoporosis. Women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss. As bone is resorbed particularly in the jaw bone, tooth loss may become imminent especially coupled with the inflammatory disease process of periodontal disease. TMJ symptoms of pain and discomfort may be onset by Osteoporosis. Hormone Therapy (HT) may be a good option for some women, but should be thoroughly discussed with her physician.
Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)
Burning mouth syndrome is just one in a long list of oral mucosal disorders that may affect menopausal women. The decrease in estrogen can trigger BMS, unfortunately this can last for years. Once other disorders are ruled out your healthcare professional can diagnose BMS. Usual symptoms of BMS are a bilateral burning sensation and altered taste. Patients have also noted an increase in thirst and symptoms worsening throughout the day. If you are experiencing these symptoms and also fall into any of the stages of menopause, it is important to discuss with your physician and/or dentist.
These are just a couple of the most common oral health symptoms linked with menopause. They can occur during perimenopause, menopause and/or post-menopause. This may begin as early as age 35. As always, if you notice any changes in oral health that you can’t attribute to homecare or nutritional changes, please bring them to our attention. We may be able to help you navigate these changes to decrease the impact on your quality of life.
Dimensions of Dental Hygiene
Oral Health and Menopause: A Comprehensive Review on Current Knowledge and Associated Dental Management