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How to talk to your dentist about menopause

Including an email template you can send to your dentist

How to talk to your dentist about menopause

Communicating with your dentist about menopause isn’t always easy. Here are some ideas about how to do it, including an email template you can use to get the conversation started.

Menopause and your oral health

We’ve all heard of hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats and other hallmark signs of menopause. But did you know menopause can affect your oral health, too?

Whether you’re experiencing perimenopause, menopause or postmenopause, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for symptoms that can affect your oral health.

Here are some of the oral health-related symptoms to watch out for:

  • Dry mouth. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, affects about 25% of menopausal women. It decreases the body's ability to fight off minor infections and maintain a healthy balance of useful and harmful bacteria within the mouth.
  • Burning mouth syndrome (BMS). Also known as glossodynia or stomatodynia, burning mouth is described as a burning sensation affecting different areas of the oral cavity, including the tongue, palate, lips and areas of denture support.
  • Tooth loosening, crowding or loss. Menopause affects the density of bones throughout the body, including jaw bones, thereby reducing the stronghold the jaw has on teeth.
  • Swollen, irritated gums. When your hormone levels change, your gums can get swollen and irritated.
  • Tooth decay and gum disease. The many hormonal changes that take place during menopause make the teeth and gums more susceptible to plaque. This leads to a much higher risk for tooth decay, gingivitis (gum inflammation) and advanced gum disease.

Why communicating with your dentist is so important (and so difficult)

Talking about your menstrual cycle to your dentist can feel a little awkward, to say the least.

“When I grew up there weren’t many female dentists,” says Dr. Karen Horace, Delta Dental’s Dental Policy Manager. “If you’re a woman who spent your whole life going to see male dentists, the idea of asking him about your female hormones can seem pretty awkward and uncomfortable.”

Furthermore, a dental office can often be an especially difficult place to have those conversations. “Frequently dental offices are organized with open bays,” Dr. Horace says. “It can feel less private than a medical office where you close the door and review your health in that sacred space.”

Nonetheless, the symptoms of menopause can take a toll on your oral health over time, so communicating with your dentist is key. If you feel self-conscious talking about menopause and its symptoms, you’re not alone. It’s important to remember that menopause symptoms are common, as well as treatable.

What you should tell your dentist

If you’re experiencing symptoms of menopause, you should tell your dentist, so the office can add the information to your medical history. Open communication about the oral health-related symptoms you’re experiencing and medications you’re taking is important.

“You should absolutely call attention to symptoms you might be noticing around your saliva flow: dry mouth, burning tongue, change in taste,” says Dr. Horace. “Whatever you’re noticing as a change or new symptom must be reported at your next dental exam, so the dentist can find the appropriate treatment.”

In fact, focusing on the symptoms is often the easiest way to approach the subject. “Instead of focusing on the hormonal aspect of it, focus on the symptoms,” Dr. Horace advises. “The key here is to pay attention to your body, pay attention to your symptoms and advocate for your own health.”

Some ideas that might help you start the conversation:

  • Make a list of your symptoms. Making a list of the points you want to bring up can help you stay on track, especially if you feel nervous during an appointment. Focusing on symptoms (i.e., “My mouth has been very dry lately.”) rather than on their cause can also help make the conversation easier.
  • Bring a friend or family member. If you feel more relaxed and comfortable with a trusted friend or family member by your side, ask them to come with you to the dentist.
  • Look for a dentist you feel comfortable with. It’s important that you can speak about your health openly and honestly with your dentist. If you’re not happy with your dentist’s communication skills, or even if you simply don’t feel comfortable in the office, consider looking for a dentist you can trust.
  • Send an email. Sending an email is sometimes easier than initiating a conversation in person. Check out our sample email below for some ideas on how you can begin the conversation about your symptoms with your dentist.

Use this template to email your dentist

The email below is designed for you to send to your dentist to help get the important oral health conversation started.

Cut and paste the following email to share with your dentist:

Dear Dr. [dentist’s name],

I hope this message finds you well. I’m writing to request an update to my dental records to reflect my current health status. I recently learned that gum disease, tooth decay, dry mouth and other oral health issues can increase during menopause. Since I am currently experiencing menopause, I kindly request this update to ensure the best possible dental care during this stage of my life. At my future exams, please ask me about any symptoms or changes that I may be experiencing in my oral health as a result of ongoing hormonal changes.

I am looking forward to learning more about how to take care of my oral health and what to expect during this stage of my life. Thank you for your attention to this matter.


[Your Name] [Your Contact Information]

Last updated September 1, 2023

The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.