Statistics show men need to visit the dentist more. There are some strong indicators that show we need to encourage our fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, and friends to take better care of their oral health.
Recent noteworthy stats
June is Men’s Health Month, and oral health is an important part of overall health. According to the 2017 Delta Dental Adult Oral Health and Well-Being Survey, men need to focus more on their oral health. Here are some of statistics from the recent survey:
Only 63% of men visit the dentist at least once a year
Only 69% of men brush their teeth the recommended twice a day
59% of men skip a brushing session at least once a month
In the same survey, 69% of respondents noted that a smile is most important for a first impression whether at work, on a date, or other circumstances. It seems we all value a bright smile, and it’s a good reason to keep your oral health a priority.
Periodontal disease, a specific concern
Other studies have shown that men are more likely than women to develop periodontal (gum) disease. For example, 56.4% of men develop gum disease compared to 38.4% of women. Periodontal disease has been linked to cardiovascular disease and other health factors, so this is another alert to men. Watch for signs of gum disease such as swollen, red, tender or bleeding gums.
There is another specific concern for men if they’re taking heart or blood pressure medication. These medications can cause a condition called dry mouth. With a lack of saliva, the risk of cavities increases. Some recommendations to combat dry mouth are increasing water intake, and avoiding salty foods, alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks.
Some standard tips for oral health
The choices and habits of some men can put them at a greater risk of oral health problems. Here are some standard dental health tips as a reminder, not just for men, for everyone:
Brush twice a day and floss at least once a day – It’s essential to prevent gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath.
Visit the dentist – During your visit, get screened for gum disease and oral cancer.
Choose healthier foods – Choosing fruits and veggies instead of pretzels and chips will not only help your overall health, it will prevent cavities from those foods that are high in carbs and sugar.
Don’t use your teeth as a tool – This is often the reason behind dental injuries. Use your hand and arm strength to open those bottles and bags.
No more tobacco – Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause oral cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, oral cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women. Gum disease, lost teeth, stained teeth and bad breath are some other possible impacts of using tobacco and tobacco products. Use these examples when you encourage a person (like your dad) to quit.
On Father’s Day this Sunday, check in with your dad and make sure he is visiting the dentist. A new electronic toothbrush with a supply of dental floss would be a useful and considerate gift. Most importantly, tell him you care about him. That alone could be enough motivation for him to visit the dentist and pay more attention to his oral health.