The importance of maintaining excellent oral health applies equally to men and women. Both groups should schedule a dental checkup every six months, and both are advised to brush their teeth a minimum of twice daily. However, men in particular should be aware of several oral health problems for which they are at risk. What should men know about caring for their teeth and gums?
Which Oral Health Concerns are More Common in Men?
The number of dental emergencies caused by accidents and sports-related injuries is much higher among males of all ages. Although sometimes these incidents cannot be avoided, the majority of these risks can be mitigated by wearing an athletic mouthguard while participating in contact sports or other vigorous physical activities. Men must also consider the potential side effects of prescription and over-the-counter medication. Flomax, a popular medication prescribed for men with enlarged prostate, lists bad taste as a side effect. Medications used to treat high blood pressure can cause men to experience dry mouth, increasing the risk of developing gingivitis and severe tooth decay. Acid reflux and other esophageal problems are more common in men than in women. Over time, exposure to stomach acid can erode tooth enamel, causing heightened sensitivity to heat and cold, cracks, visibly stained teeth, and even infections within the tooth.
How Do Males’ Hygiene Habits Compare to Those of Women?
Not only do women have a longer life expectancy than men, but they also seem to have a healthier approach to preventive dentistry and hygiene. The following statistics highlight the need for men to be proactive about their oral health:
- Only 51% of men brush their teeth the recommended two times a day
- 79.5% neglect to brush their teeth after each meal
- Men are more likely to go several years without having a professional teeth cleaning or dental examination
Why Do So Many Men Have Gum Disease?
The number of men who have gum disease exceeds that of women, a trend that extends to all age groups. 34% of men whose age is between 30 and 54 will develop periodontal disease, and 56% of males between the ages of 55 and 90 are affected. Studies suggest that this is a consequence of avoiding preventive dental exams. Men should be aware that periodontal disease is the single most common cause of tooth loss among both male and female American adults. Symptoms of gum disease include bleeding gums, inflammation, chronic bad breath, and puffy, reddened gum tissue.
What Should Men Know About Oral Cancer?
The majority of men are at least familiar with gender-specific cancers, such as those that affect the prostate and testicles. Actually, oral cancers–cancer affecting the lips, tongue, and mouth–have a higher death rate than testicular cancer, certain lymphomas, and cancer of the skin and pharynx. When detected in its earliest stages, oral cancer has a decent survival rate. However, going several years between oral cancer screenings makes early detection all but impossible. It’s also common knowledge that chewing tobacco and smoking cigarettes, pipes, and cigars virtually guarantees cancer in some form. What not every man realizes is that men who use tobacco products are much more likely than female smokers and tobacco users to develop cancer. There have also been increases in the number of men diagnosed with oral cancer caused by HPV, a sexually transmitted disease.