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.
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?
Here are some of the oral health-related symptoms to watch out for:
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. Jessica Buehler, Delta Dental’s Senior Director of Dental Affairs and Oversight. “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. Buehler 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.
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. Buehler. “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. Buehler 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:
The email below is designed for you to send to your dentist to help get the important oral health conversation started.
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.