As we age, our bodies experience many changes, some of them inevitable. For most women, one such change is the stage of reproductive health called menopause. Menopause typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but it can last anywhere from 7 to 14 years. During that time, women can experience a variety of symptoms, including weight gain, hot flashes, insomnia, and more.
But what many women don’t realize is that menopause can also cause major changes to your oral health. While many women may be focusing on other signs of aging during this time, studies have shown that they often neglect to pay extra attention to their oral health.
A recent study by Delta Dental (Delta Dental’s 2023 Senior Oral Health and Menopause Report: Breaking the Stigma) found that many women are simply unaware of the changes menopause can cause to their mouths.
According to the study, 79 percent of women over 50 who participated in the survey responded that they were aware of changes in their teeth and gums, or have had at least one change in their oral health during menopause, including tooth decay, receding gum lines, burning tongue, tooth sensitivity, altered taste, or dry mouth.
Unfortunately, less than half of the women surveyed claimed to have had a discussion with their primary care doctor about menopause, and 45 percent have never had a discussion about menopause with any doctor of any kind. Furthermore, only one percent of those surveyed had spoken about menopause with their dentist.
Though there are many symptoms associated with oral health and menopause, dry mouth, tooth decay, and receding gums are the three most typical issues women face. Thankfully, there is still much you can do to help combat these problems. For starters, maintaining a comprehensive oral health routine which includes brushing at least twice a day for two minutes at a time, flossing once a day, and visiting Dr. Abelar twice a year are highly recommended. Because dry mouth can be extremely damaging to the teeth and gums, it is also recommended that you stay hydrated to maintain the balance of saliva in your mouth.
If you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of menopause, be sure to check in with your physician, and speak to Dr. Abelar’s office about monitoring the changes to your oral health as you age.