Menopause is a monumental point in every woman's life. It's defined as the period when menstruation ceases, and it marks the end of a woman's reproductive life. Usually, menopause occurs when a woman is in her 40's or 50's.

It's associated with a rapid decline in the female sex hormones: oestrogen and progesterone. Several physical changes also occur during this period, and here are some you might notice concerning your oral health.

Periodontal (gum) diseases

Periodontium forms the supporting structures of teeth. It is compromised of the gingiva, cementum, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. During menopause, women are at risk of tooth loss and other periodontal diseases. This is a consequence of a drop in estrogen that results in inflammatory changes within the gums.

Bone degradation that occurs during menopause does not spare the alveolar bone. As a result, tooth loss is pretty common during menopause.

Burning mouth syndrome

Postmenopausal women can sometimes experience a burning sensation within the mouth despite the absence of disease. The feeling can range from slight discomfort to severe pain.

Although pathological conditions like oral candidiasis and viral infections have similar symptoms, burning mouth syndrome exists in the setting of normal oral flora and mucosa.


Xerostomia describes oral dryness. Menopausal women often complain of dry mouth, and a reduced salivary flow rate provides a good explanation for this.

Salivary glands contain sex hormone receptors. As a result, the amount of estrogen a woman has will significantly affect the salivary flow rate. The flow is lower in menopausal women compared to premenopausal women.

Nonetheless, the severity of xerostomia is independent of the amount of saliva secreted from the glands. The extent to which sex hormones affect saliva secretion, flow, and composition is not fully understood.

What to do?

Menopause is inevitable in the natural progression of a woman's life. However, you can take steps to alleviate the transition from reproductive to a non-reproductive age. These include:

Maintaining good oral hygiene

If you have never followed through with oral hygiene, menopause is the time to put your best foot forward. Due to salivary composition and flow changes, the mouth is most vulnerable during menopause. Nonetheless, here are things you can do to maintain good oral hygiene during this critical period.

Brush your teeth routinely

Dentists advise brushing your teeth after every meal. The practice ensures plaque doesn't build up on the enamel and maintains the tooth's integrity. It's essential to use a good toothbrush and follow the appropriate brushing techniques.


It's also crucial to floss once a day to ensure every crevice within the oral cavity is cleared. Dental floss can reach areas that the fibres on your toothbrush can't. However, flossing is not an alternative to brushing but an addition.

Eat healthily

Your teeth are primarily affected by what you consume. Processed sugars and carbonated drinks have the most destructive effects on teeth. They weaken the enamel and initiate tooth decay. Among menopausal women, the progression from a simple, uncomplicated enamel decay to tooth loss is quite fast. Therefore, precautions must be taken. A simple solution to the problem is eating a healthy balanced meal. This is not only good for your teeth but also for stabilising the hormonal swings that are classic to menopause. Consuming foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D also goes a long way in reducing the bone loss associated with menopause.

Visit your dentist

This is the time to visit your dentist regularly. At least schedule two check-ups in a year for dental review. A dentist will advise you on everything you need to know about menopause and oral health. Moreover, the professional eyes of a dentist are often the first to pick up concerning changes to your oral health. This comes in handy, especially when early intervention is possible.

Although menopause is inevitable, you can avoid poor oral hygiene. You only need to make the small steps.