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Breaking the Stigma: Let’s Talk About Menopause & Oral Health

by: Dr. Haver - In Partnership with Delta Dental

When it comes to menopause, we likely think of the well known, often joked about symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings, but did you know that menopause can actually affect your oral health? According to Delta Dental’s recent survey, probably not.  A whopping 84% of women 50 and older were unaware of the menopause-oral health connection.1 

The survey also revealed that most women who are experiencing menopause are unaware that dental providers can help them address – and recommend treatments for – oral health related symptoms of menopause. 

How Does Menopause Affect Oral Health?

The menopause transition is categorized by a wild fluctuation of hormones which includes a dramatic decrease in the hormone estrogen. This hormone can affect the gums, saliva and overall health of the mouth.2  So, whether you’re experiencing perimenopause, menopause or postmenopause, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any symptoms, such as:

  • Dry mouth
  • Burning mouth syndrome (BMS)
  • Tooth sensitivity, pain or decay
  • Decreased jawbone density
  • Reduced saliva production
  • Bleeding, altered or irritated gums

Delta Dental has impressed me with their commitment to educating dental providers and patients to help make treatment plans more accessible for all people who experience menopause. Only 2% of women 50 and older report that they have discussed their menopause concerns with their dentist and only 1% of women 50 and older say they have discussed their concerns with their dental hygienist.

Recognizing that it may be uncomfortable or embarrassing to discuss such personal matters in an open dental bay, so Delta Dental has created an email template for you to customize and send to your provider. This way, your oral health care team can add the information to your medical history and be made aware of your changing needs. Open communication about the oral health-related symptoms you’re experiencing and medications you’re taking is important, and is critical to your overall health.3

How to Keep a Healthy Smile Long After Menopause

Here’s what you need to know about keeping your smile healthy long after menopause.4  

Step up your oral health care routine at home

Practicing adequate oral hygiene is crucial.  Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste using proper technique, paying extra attention to the gum lines and hard-to-reach areas, and floss at least once daily.  In addition, use an antimicrobial mouth wash to reduce the accumulation of dental plaque and help prevent gum disease and tooth decay.

Keep track of your symptoms

Be aware of menopausal related symptoms and how they can affect your oral health. Watch out for the symptoms of dry mouth, note any change in the surface appearance of your tongue, or if it appears cracked or dry. If your lips are sticking to your teeth more often or your tongue is dry to the touch, you may be producing less saliva.  If you’re unsure, your dental office can do saliva-flow testing to help determine your rate of saliva flow and the best treatment options. 

Stay hydrated

Keeping saliva flowing and the proper pH balance in your mouth is important to oral health. Water or high pH bottled water is recommended over beverages such as juices or water flavored with lemons.  Water is the next best thing to saliva. Dr. Jessica Buehler, Senior Director of Dental Affairs at Delta Dental says “It’s partially about hydration, but it’s also about buffering the oral environment and keeping the pH of your mouth controlled.”5 

Communicate with your dentist

Keeping a healthy mouth after menopause depends on clear communication about any symptoms you’re having with your dentist. If you’re experiencing any oral discomfort, sensitivity or other changes. Intervention can prevent issues from worsening, so consult your dentist as soon as possible. 

Maintain a healthy diet

An anti-inflammatory approach to nutrition such as The Galveston Diet, is rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium, which can be found in dairy products and leafy green vegetables, and Vitamin D. Limit alcohol, caffeine, sugary snacks or beverages and overly salty foods.

Consider hormone therapy

Hormone therapy can help some women manage a host of menopausal and postmenopausal issues, including those related to oral health. Discuss hormone therapy and potential oral health implications with your physician. 

Manage stress

High levels of stress can exacerbate oral health issues. Practice your favorite stress-reduction technique or pick up a new one, such as yoga or meditation, to benefit both your oral health and your overall well-being.

Maintaining good oral health is important at every age and stage of life, but those who experience menopause need to be aware of how menopause affects their oral health. Delta Dental is doing their part to spread awareness, get the conversation going and help women make the best decisions for their oral health.

To learn more about Delta Dental’s initiative to Break the Stigma, read their recent Press Release or download Delta Dental’s 2023 Senior Oral Health and Menopause Report: Breaking the Stigma.  To learn more about the connection between menopause and oral health, visit

This is a paid partnership with Delta Dental.


Related Posts:

The Galveston Diet can help women in menopause feel more confident in their skin.

This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.

Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency room immediately.

The views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other institution with which the authors are affiliated.

While the information on the site was prepared to provide accurate information regarding topics related to general and specific health issues, the information contained in the site is made available with the express understanding that neither Dr. Mary Claire Haver,, nor the other experts on the site, nor the site itself, nor members of the Site are dispensing medical advice and do not intend any of this information to be used for self-diagnosis or treatment.


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