Oral symptoms such as xerostomia and burning mouth syndrome have been recognized to increase associated with menopause. The purpose of this study was to clarify the changes in oral health as well as systemic health due to menopause and their relations with hormonal change and mental status.
Ninety-seven female dental hygienists aged 40-59 years were assigned to premenopausal, menopausal and post-menopausal groups based on self-reported menstrual condition. Subjective health statuses were evaluated by questionnaire, and objective holistic and oral statuses were evaluated by measuring serum 17β-estradiol (E2), salivary flow rate, α-amylase and secretory IgA (SIgA) and taste sensitivity.
A significant difference among the three groups was observed in the self-rating questionnaire of depression (SRQ-D) score and serum E2 level as well as unstimulated salivary flow rate, whereas no significant difference was observed in Simplified menopausal index, Short-Form 36-Item Health Survey, General Oral Health Assessment Index, salivary α-amylase activity, salivary SIgA concentration and taste threshold. Serum E2 levels positively correlated with unstimulated salivary flow rates and negatively correlated with SRQ-D scores and α-amylase activities.
The results demonstrated a negative correlation between E2 levels and SRQ-D scores as well as salivary α-amylase activities, suggesting an influence of E2 on mental condition. Furthermore, E2 decrease may result in reduction of salivary flow which in turn causes various problems of oral health. Since the participants were graduates from several dental hygienist schools and working at various places, these results can be generalized to Japanese dental hygienists to some extent.