Men and Oral Health
As the evidence underscores the bond between physical and oral health, regular dental visits become another important aspect of men’s overall health. For Men’s Health Week, the Chicago Dental Societyis bringing articles and information to men and their loved ones to help raise awareness of preventable health problems.
Men suffer from more oral health conditions compared to women, according to Colgate.com, including higher rates of gum disease, tooth loss and certain types of infections. Also men with high blood pressure and heart disease conditions – compounded by poor dental health habits – can result in oral health complications.
According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) and the American Dental Association (ADA), men show higher incidence of:
- Periodontal disease. Nearly 35 percent of men between 30 and 54 years of age have periodontal or gum disease, compared to 23 percent of women in that age range. The numbers jump to 56 percent from men age 55-90 compared to 44 percent of women of that age.
- Dry mouth. The AGD suggests heart disease and high blood pressure medications might be behind the presence of dry mouth. Certain medications can diminish saliva, a protective barrier against bacteria, causing dry mouth.
- Oral cancers. Twice as many men as women develop oral cancer, often the result of smoking, chewing tobacco and drinking alcohol.
- Mouth trauma. Men who participate in sports, particularly high contact sports, have greater potential for trauma to the mouth and teeth.
Making some simple, but important, oral care choices can put men on a different path:
- Make and keep dental appointments. According to the AGD, men are more likely to visit a dentist than women and when they do, it’s in response to a problem that needs urgent treatment.
- Brush your teeth. More women than men brush their teeth twice a day, according to research by the ADA and the AGD.
- Wear a mouthguard. This flexible appliance offers important protection when playing contact sports
Tomorrow: Men and mental health care.