The impact of the menopause on the dental workforce

The impact of the menopause on the dental workforceMore conversations need to be had about the menopause and how people can manage their symptoms in the dental practice.

This is according to a new study published in the British Dental Journal (BDJ).

The research went ahead after noting that there is ‘no literature on the effects that menopause can have on members of the dental team’.

Impact of menopause

In 2019, statistics show that 92.6% of dental care professionals and 50.9% of dentists were women. Other findings show:

  • The average age for a woman to reach menopause in the UK is 51
  • Three out of four women experience symptoms, with one in four having serious symptoms
  • Eight in 10 menopausal women work
  • Around one in 100 women experience the menopause before they reach 40 years of age.

The study revealed that while 76.9% of the dental team are women, 35% of dental care professionals (DCPs) and 43% of dentists are currently within the age range affected by menopause.

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It pointed to research by the British Medical Association that exposed significant failings in care for women experiencing the menopause.

For example, 93% of respondents said that their menopause symptoms had affected their working lives. However, 38% said they could not make the changes they needed to their working pattern to cope with symptoms.

Just 16% had discussed their symptoms with their manager.

Proposed changes

The report suggests a number of changes that need to take place in dentistry including:

  • Providing training on menopause
  • Introducing a clear menopause policy or guidance documents
  • Take the environment into account and consider reasonable adjustments
  • Assess each individual on their own merits
  • Create an open and transparent environment.

‘We can play such a crucial role in supporting anyone experiencing symptoms in the dental profession, helping them understand what is happening and most importantly, what they can do to manage their symptoms and supporting them in the workplace,’ the researchers concluded.

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