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Oral health during the menopause – Afrifa Sultana

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  Posted by: The Probe      3rd July 2018

2018 is the “Year of the Woman” a celebration of some truly remarkable achievements. Certainly, women appear to be more empowered than ever before, yet oddly, the menopause still remains a subject that is not widely discussed.

There is no denying that the menopause is a sensitive matter. Some women find that leaving behind the reproductive years is very emotional; they may feel a sense of loss or see it as an unwanted sign of ageing. It can be experienced as a gradual process with hardly noticeable changes or involve many years of progressive transition and climacteric symptoms. Indeed, it has been reported that 80% of women experience physical or psychological symptoms during menopause, some of which can impact on their quality of life significantly.[1]

The menopause usually occurs after the age of 45 when ovarian function slowly declines and eventually stops producing oestrogen and progesterone hormones.

At this time women reasonably anticipate changes in their periods and may expect to experience certain symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, loss of libido and irritability. A lot of women take supplements to address these changes or they might begin to consider their lifestyle more seriously, however, very few are likely to think about how the menopause could affect their oral health.

Many women may not realise that for some time before, during, and after the menopause, the teeth and gums can be extremely vulnerable. Fluctuating hormone levels can decrease the body’s capacity to fight off minor infections as well as its ability to maintain a healthy bacterial balance within the oral environment. It can affect many oral tissues and glands giving rise to a range of oral health problems including those associated with reduced saliva flow and increased plaque accumulation. As such there is an increased risk of oral and dental diseases including tooth decay, gingivitis and periodontal disease as well as candidiasis, lichen planus, benign pemphigoid and Sjogren’s syndrome amongst others.[2],[3][4][5]

Indeed, oral discomfort, altered taste and a burning sensation in the mouth are some the most commonly reported complaints among menopausal women. Many experience a persistently dry mouth, accompanied with unpleasant taste sensation and malodourous breath,[6]which can also impact on the confidence and self esteem. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be useful for some women and salivary secretion stimulators or substitutes can successfully address some of the oral symptoms associated with the menopause. However, correct prevention and good control of bacterial plaque can contribute significantly to the reduction of many oral complaints.

For women approaching the menopause and those experiencing the transition, maintaining an effective oral health routine is vitally important. Dental professionals can help with oral health instruction regarding tooth brushing and flossing (frequency and technique) and by recommending CB12 mouthwash. CB12 contains active ingredients including fluoride as well as low concentrations of chlorhexidine and zinc to help to lower dental plaque levels, improve periodontal health, prevent cavities and successfully neutralise odorous smelling oral gases for up to 12 hours.

Dental practitioners may be the first to notice the changes that women experience during the menopause and are ideally placed to raise awareness of the oral health symptoms they may encounter. Don’t shy away from the subject but offer your help to preserve their health and well being and support them through the menopause and beyond.

 

For more information about CB12 and how it could benefit your patients, please visit www.cb12.com

 

[1]Nisar N, et al. Frequency of menopausal symptoms and their impact on the quality of life of women: a hospital based survey.Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecolgoy, Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences Jamshoro, District Coordinator National Programme for Family Planning and Primary Health Care Matiary, Sindh, Pakistan. Journal of Pakistan Medical Association. November 2009. http://jpma.org.pk/full_article_text.php?article_id=1847

[Accessed 1stMay 2018]

[2]Dutt P. et al. Oral Health and Menopause: A Comprehensive Review on Current Knowledge and Associated Dental Management. Ann Med Health Sci Res. 2013 Jul-Sep; 3(3) 320-323. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3793432/[Accessed 1stMay 2018]

[3]Grover C.M et al. “Crosstalk between Hormones and Oral Health in the Mid-Life of Women: A Comprehensive Review.” Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry 4.Suppl 1 (2014): S5–S10. PMC. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4247552/[Accessed 1stMay 2018]

[4]Hariri R. et al. Oral manifestations of menopause. J Dent Health Oral Disord Ther 2017, 7(4):00247. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bf49/ed343e07022ecd8ac56eeca9f2120b1b48d4.pdf[Accessed 1st May 208]

[5]Meurman J.H et al. The menopause and oral health. Maturitas. 2009 May 20;63(1):56-62. doi: 110.1016/j.maturitas.2009.02.009. Epub 2009 Mar 25. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19324502[Accessed 1stMay 2018]

[6]Mahesh D.R et al. Evaluation of Salivary Flow Rate, pH and Buffer in Pre, Post & Post Menopausal Women on HRT. J Clin Diagn Res. 2014 Feb; 8(2): 233–236. Published online 2014 Feb 3. doi:  10.7860/JCDR/2014/8158.4067. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3972571/#b1[Accessed 1stMay 2018]


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