Do you see things that are “right under your nose”? No? Then you’re a man. Everyone knows men and women are very different. Health concerns, especially oral health, usually takes a back seat if you are male.
Good oral health has been linked with longevity. Men are less likely than women to seek preventive dental care and often neglect their oral health for years, visiting a dentist only when a problem arises. Statistics show that the average man brushes his teeth 1.9 times a day and will lose 5 teeth by age 72. If he smokes, he can plan on losing 12 teeth by age 72. Men are also more likely to develop oral and throat cancer and periodontal (gum) disease.
Why is periodontal disease a problem?
Periodontal disease is a result of plaque that hardens into a rough, porous substance called tartar. The acids produced by bacteria in tartar irritate gums and cause the breakdown of fibers that anchor the gums tightly to the teeth, creating gaps that fill with even more bacteria. Researchers have found a connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease, which can place people at risk for heart attacks and strokes. Symptoms of gum disease include but is not limited to:
Bleeding gums during brushing
Red, swollen or tender gums
Persistent bad breath
Loose or separating teeth
Do you take medications?
Since men are more likely to suffer from heart attacks, they also are more likely to be on medication. Some medications can cause dry mouth, increasing the risk for cavities. Chewing sugar-free gum, brushing and rinsing with agents that manage dry mouth will help increase saliva flow.
Do you use tobacco?
Men that smoke have an even greater risk for gum disease and oral cancer. Men are affected twice as often as women, and 95 percent of oral cancers occur in those over 40 years of age.
The most frequent oral cancer sites are the tongue, the floor of the mouth, soft palate tissues in back of the tongue, lips and gums. If not diagnosed and treated in its early stages, oral cancer can spread, leading to chronic pain, loss of function, irreparable facial and oral disfigurement following surgery and even death. If you use tobacco, it is important to see a therapist even more frequently for cleanings. Dentist can perform a thorough screening for oral cancer.
Do you play sports?
If you participate in sports, you have a greater potential for trauma to your mouth and teeth. If you play contact sports, such as football, soccer, basketball and even baseball, use a mouthguard. If you ride bicycles or motorcycles, use a helmet! It is crucial to see us for a custom-fit mouthguard.
Taking care of your teeth
To take better care of your oral health, it is important to floss daily, brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice daily and visit your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings. Here are some tips to better dental health:
Replace your toothbrush every three months or if the bristles start to bend or fray.
Choose a toothpaste with fluoride.
Brush properly. Clean all the surfaces of your teeth, position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion using short, gentle strokes. Make several gentle strokes over each tooth and its surrounding gum tissue. Spend at least three minutes brushing.
Floss properly. Gently insert floss between teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or snap it into place. We are more than happy to demonstrate effective brushing and flossing techniques. Be a man, just visit and ask one of our friendly staff.