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Oral health and the menopause – Arifa Sultana CB 12

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  Posted by: The Probe      5th November 2018

2018 is the “Year of the Woman” and marks 100 years since women were first able to vote. This year is a celebration of some truly remarkable achievements that have been made by women and gives recognition to those that have changed the lives of women for the better. Over the last year we have witnessed movements to help fight sexual harassment, violence and discrimination, increased awareness of the gender pay gap and the accomplishments of women in political, economic and social arenas. It seems that women are more empowered than ever before, yet strangely, even though it is inevitable for most women, the menopause still remains a subject that is not widely discussed.

The menopause is of course, 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. Understandably, all women experience the menopause differently; it may be a gradual process with hardly noticeable changes or involve many years of progressive transition and climacteric symptoms, culminating with the end of menstruation. Nevertheless, in order to preserve their health and well being, it appears that some women may need greater awareness and understanding to better support them through the menopause and beyond.

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

These hormonal changes and imbalances mean that 80% of women experience physical or psychological symptoms during menopause, some of which can impact on their quality of life significantly.[1]Women expect to experience changes in their periods whether they become lighter or heavier, longer or shorter and probably expect to experience certain symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, loss of libido and irritability. Similarly, some women may take supplements to address changes in the skin and hair, take more exercise, pay more attention to their weight or consider their bone density more seriously, but very few will think about how the menopause could affect their oral health.

For instance, 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 for menopausal women 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 altered 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 are often 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. The menopause is not a subject that should be shied away from, particularly in the dental surgery. Some women may need help to improve their oral health and make lifestyle changes in order to prevent the often unexpected health problems of later life. The menopause should be promoted as a time for reassessment and evaluation and dental professionals can offer support and empower women to make changes for the better.

 

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

 

REFERENCES

[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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