Does a certain man in your life refuse to visit the dentist as often as he should? If so, he isn’t alone. According to the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Dental Association, men are less likely than women to seek preventive dental care and often neglect their oral health.
Our experts here at Wildwood Dental are weighing in on some concerning stats worth discussing with the men in your life:
The average man is less likely to brush his teeth after every meal (20.5 percent compared with 28.7 percent for women).
The average man is less likely to brush his teeth twice a day (49 percent compared with 56.8 percent for women).
Men are more likely to develop gum disease than women:
* 30 to 54 years: 34 percent of men compared with 23 percent of women
* 55 to 90 years: 56 percent of men compared to 44 percent of women
Recent studies also suggest there may be a connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease, which can create an additional risk for heart attacks and strokes. Because of this, men should pay special attention to red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums, persistent bad breath or loose teeth – all of which may indicate a major issue.
Although it's important for all men to be diligent with their oral care, specific groups of men may have additional oral hygiene risks:
Men who take medications. Some heart and blood pressure medications as well as antidepressants, can cause dry mouth, which can increase the risk for cavities. Saliva helps reduce the cavity-causing bacteria found in the mouth by washing away food particles.
Men who use tobacco. Men who smoke or chew tobacco have a greater risk for gum disease and oral cancer. Even men who don't use tobacco are more likely than women to have gum disease or cancer.
Oral cancer often appears on the tongue, the floor of the mouth, soft palate tissues in back of the tongue or the lips and gums. If not diagnosed early, oral cancer can spread and lead to chronic pain, irreparable facial and oral disfigurement, and even death.
Men who play sports. Men who participate in sports have a greater potential for trauma to their mouths and teeth. When playing contact sports, use a mouth guard, which protects teeth from trauma. Men who ride bicycles or motorcycles should always wear a helmet to protect their teeth and head.
Gender aside, tips for taking care of your teeth
No matter if you’re male or female, here are some ways to be vigilant about oral health:
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes at least twice daily.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months or after you've been sick.
- Floss every day.
- Visit our office twice each year for cleanings and exams. Schedule an appointment with our Mill Creek, Wash. experts by calling (425) 481-1889.