Men and Their Dental Health
Men, in general, tend to be less attentive to their overall personal hygiene than women. This can be especially true for men’s dental hygiene as well, according to recent studies. Recent surveys from the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Dental Association show that men are less likely than women to visit the dentist for preventive dental care and often neglect their oral health for years.
Dental Health Findings From Study
-Brushing After Meals
The average male is less likely to brush his teeth after every meal. Approximately 21% of men in the study said they brush after every meal, while almost 30% of women said they did. The results are close but still a significant gap. Both genders need to improve on this number.
The average male is less likely to brush his teeth twice a day. Almost 50% of the men in the study said they brush twice a day, whereas nearly 57% of the women said they did. Again the numbers are pretty close, and both genders need to improve, but women outperform men again in this category.
-Development of Periodontal Disease
Men are more likely to develop periodontal disease than are women: 30 to 54 years old: 34 percent of men compared with 23 percent of women 55 to 90 years old: 56 percent of men compared to 44 percent of women. These statistics really should come as no surprise based on the lowered brushing numbers for men. If basic dental hygiene is not maintained, you will most likely develop some form of periodontal disease.
Assessing Men’s Dental Risk
Recent studies suggest there may be a link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. As we know, cardiovascular disease can place people at increased risk for heart attacks and strokes. Because of this, men should be especially vigilant for signs of periodontal disease such as red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums, persistent bad breath, or loose teeth. While all men need to be on top of their dental hygiene, some men should be even more diligent due to medical histories. These include:
-Men who take prescription medications
Some medications (blood pressure medications and antidepressants) can cause dry mouth. Men who take these medications could develop decreased salivary flow, increasing the risk for tooth decay. Saliva helps reduce the cavity-causing bacteria found in the mouth by washing away food particles and neutralizing acid found in drinks and food and formed by plaque bacteria.
What To Do If You Have Dry Mouth?
Men who have dry mouths may need to drink more water to ease their symptoms. Other ways to relieve dry mouth include:
- -Chewing sugarless gum. A good example is chewing a piece of gum with xylitol. Xylitol is proven to inhibit the creation of acid in your mouth, thereby protecting your teeth.
- -Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated beverages. All of these beverages tend to dry out your mouth and increase exposure to acids in the mouth.
- -Do Not Smoke! Smoking causes an increased risk for periodontal disease, delayed healing, and an increased risk of developing oral cancer. -Avoiding overly salty foods. Salt tends to dry you out, enhancing the feeling of thirst.
- -Using an alcohol-free mouth rinse. Men who have inhibited saliva flow should also ask their dentist about saliva substitutes or other alternatives to promote salivary flow.
Tobacco Use in Men.
Men who smoke or chew tobacco have a greater risk for gum disease and oral cancer. Men, in general, have a higher risk for developing periodontal disease or cancer, so tobacco use increases that risk even further. Age is also a factor, as 95 % of oral cancers occur in those older than 40 years of age. The most frequent oral cancer sites are the tongue, the floor of the mouth, soft palate tissues in the back of the tongue, the lips, and gums. Oral Cancer must be diagnosed early for a successful treatment outcome.
If it is not diagnosed early and treated in its early stages, oral cancer can spread very quickly, leading to chronic pain, loss of function, and even death. For that reason, it is crucial for men who use tobacco to see a dentist regularly for dental examinations and cleanings and to ensure their mouth remains healthy. A general dentist can perform a thorough screening for oral cancer. Try to find a dentist using the Velscope oral cancer screening system. The Velscope is a quick, painless test using a special light to find cancerous and precancerous cells at the earliest possible stage, but diagnosis is missed if you do not visit your dentist.
Men who play sports.
Men who partake in sports have an increased potential for trauma to their mouths and teeth. When playing contact sports, such as football, soccer, hockey, basketball, or baseball, it is vital to use a mouthguard, a flexible appliance made of plastic that protects teeth from trauma. These mouthguards should be custom-made by your dentist for the best protection. Men who ride bicycles or motorcycles should wear a helmet.
Dental Hygiene Tips For Men (and Women!)
The following are some tips to improve your dental hygiene:
- -Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. Although using toothpaste with fluoride can reduce tooth decay by as much as 40 percent.)
- -Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and use proper tooth brushing technique by positioning the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet.
- -Replace your toothbrush regularly. Dentists recommend replacing your brush every 2-3 months or after you have been sick.
- -Floss daily. Use the proper technique and gently insert the floss between teeth using a back and forth motion. Curve the floss into a C shape against one tooth and then the other.
- -Visit the dentist twice a year for dental examinations and professional cleanings.
There is no reason why men cannot have better dental hygiene. It takes a commitment to make dental hygiene a part of your daily routine. This commitment to dental health will give men a better chance of living a long, healthy life.
Contact Marielaina Perrone DDS at (702) 458-2929 to schedule a no-cost cosmetic consultation appointment if you are ready for a smile makeover. We cannot wait to help you with your smile makeover to create the smile of your dreams in Summerlin, Henderson, and Las Vegas, NV.