Supporting patients through menopause  

18 March 2024

Tom Alcraft reviews data on the importance of patient education.

Half of the population will experience menopause, so it’s vital that those working in primary care raise awareness about the impact it can have on their health. A survey found that 84 per cent of women over 50 don’t know how menopause affects their oral health. Nearly 90 per cent were unaware of the ways that menopause can impact specific areas of their oral health, including increased tooth decay, gingivitis, and tooth loss, as well as its impact on jaw density. Over 75 per cent didn’t know that it can lead to dry mouth and receding gingiva.

These oral health impacts can have a knock-on effect on quality of life, so it’s important to educate patients about what to expect and how best to manage these effects, as well as offer support and advice to individuals.

Public awareness of menopause and oral health

While many people feel more comfortable discussing menopause now than in previous years, with calls for more transparency in the workplace to improve personal and professional lives, there is still a stigma surrounding menopause. As such, many women may feel uncomfortable discussing their symptoms with anyone, including medical and dental professionals. This is despite 79 per cent of women saying they’d noticed a change in the appearance of their teeth and gingiva as they aged.

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