Delta Dental’s first Senior Oral Health and Menopause Survey has uncovered that a significant number of women aged 50 and older are experiencing oral health symptoms related to menopause without realizing it. In fact, an astonishing 84% of women in this age group are unaware that their oral health symptoms could be connected to menopause. This lack of awareness highlights the need for dental providers to be recognized as a valuable resource for women navigating the challenges of menopause.
The survey, which involved over 1,000 women, found that 70% of women aged 50 and older have experienced at least one oral health symptom since the onset of menopausal symptoms. These symptoms include dry mouth, receding gumlines, tooth sensitivity or pain, tooth decay, bleeding gums, altered taste, reduced saliva production, and burning tongue. However, most women did not associate these symptoms with the hormonal shifts occurring during menopause.
Despite the lack of awareness, the survey revealed that nearly half of women aged 50 and older are curious to learn more about how menopause and hormonal changes affect their oral health as they age. After being informed about the link between menopause and oral health, respondents expressed a willingness to make changes to improve their oral health, such as prioritizing dental exams and dedicating more time to their oral health care routine.
The survey also highlighted the missed opportunities for patient education within the dental community. Only 2% of women discussed their oral health concerns with their dentist, and even fewer (1%) had spoken to their dental hygienist about these issues. This indicates a gap in communication between patients and dental professionals regarding menopause-related oral health symptoms.
In light of these findings, Delta Dental is committed to empowering more comprehensive care that integrates oral health into overall healthcare, particularly for women experiencing menopause. The dental community has a significant role to play in addressing the stigma around menopause and providing patients with the necessary information and support. By fostering open conversations about menopause and oral health, dentists can ensure that patients receive appropriate treatment recommendations and holistic care.
Delta Dental’s report serves as a call to action for healthcare providers to increase resources and information about the connection between menopause and overall health. By bridging this knowledge gap, dental professionals can better support women navigating menopause and promote better oral health outcomes.
– Delta Dental’s 2023 Senior Oral Health and Menopause Report: Breaking the Stigma.