Did you know that women are more likely to visit their dentist regularly than men? Interestingly enough, men are less likely to take care of their health in general than women. As such, it comes as no surprise that men treat their oral health the same and only visit the dentist when something is in desperate need of attention. Men are also much more likely to contract certain medical conditions than women, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. With that in mind, and kicking off Men’s Health Month, today we’ll discuss 5 oral health concerns for men that are worthy of your attention.
1. How are you taking care of your teeth at home?
Women are over 8% more likely to brush their teeth twice a day than men, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Men are also less likely to floss on a regular basis than women. Your Raleigh dentist recommends brushing at least twice a day (and after mealtimes if possible) to prevent cavities and gum disease. As such, if you find yourself skipping your oral hygiene routine, it’s time to step it up.
2. When Was Your Last Checkup?
Women tend to be more proactive regarding their oral health than men. As such, women are much more likely to see their Raleigh dentist on a consistent basis, and make future or follow-up appointments that they intend to keep. On the other hand, men tend to see the dentist only when absolutely necessary, meaning that they often receive far fewer cleanings and checkups than women.
Unfortunately, this does not mean that men have fewer oral health concerns. In fact, quite the opposite. Since men tend to only come into the dentist if there’s a problem, the warning signs of man oral health concerns are missed. This includes screenings that would prevent gum disease, oral cancer, cavities, and other health concerns that could go unnoticed until it’s too late.
Your Raleigh dentist recommends that men and women have a checkup and cleaning at least twice a year to maintain your oral health. Just because your mouth isn’t experiencing pain doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem. Many oral health concerns don’t cause pain right away (or at all). However, once you experience pain, the issue could have advanced or complicated to the point where your treatment options are limited and expensive.
3. Are you a smoker?
As a general rule of thumb, men are at a much greater risk for gum disease and oral cancer. That risk increases if you smoke or chew tobacco, as the carcinogens in tobacco products are directly linked to oral cancer. While 95% of oral cancer cases occur after the age of 40, cancer can occur at any age. That said, you can modify your behavior now (and improve your risk factors) by stopping all tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption.
Our goal is to identify any signs of cancer as early as possible. In addition to cleaning your teeth, we typically screen for oral cancer during dental checkups. So, while you may not value professional dental cleanings as much as we do, we certainly hope cancer screenings are enough of a reason for you to regularly see your Raleigh dentist.
4. Do you suffer from a dry mouth?
We mentioned earlier that men are prone to heart disease and high blood pressure. As such, these conditions tend to affect men’s oral health as well, since many of the prescriptions that treat heart disease and blood pressure also cause dry mouth. Why is this problematic for your teeth? Well, when you have a dry mouth, your body produces less saliva. Saliva is a key ingredient in fighting the bacteria in our mouths. Therefore, men are more susceptible to cavities, dental decay and bad breath.
5. Are you active?
As a general rule, men are typically more aggressive than women. And while women are just as capable of playing sports as men, women don’t tend to get involved with intense physical contact types of sports such as tackle football, wrestling, boxing, water polo or rugby. These types of activities greatly increase your chances of running into other people or sporting equipment which can cause teeth to crack or chip or fall out, especially if you are not wearing a mouth-guard.
If you engage in sporting activities with the potential for facial injury, you should absolutely wear a mouth guard as well as other protective gear. Cosmetic dental work (including replacing teeth) can be an expensive unexpected expense that can be completely avoided by simply wearing protective gear. You can either have a custom mouth-guard fitted to your teeth or buy one at your local drug store to protect your teeth and jaws.
In conclusion, most oral health problems are preventable with regular maintenance, early detection, and treatment. If it’s been more than six months since you’ve seen the dentist, call Dr. Katherine E. Garrett and schedule your appointment. New patients are always welcome, and we are proud to provide dental care for your entire family. Don’t wait until you have a dental emergency, call our office today!