Studies show that men are less likely than women to take care of their health in general - and oral health even less. Good oral health is linked to longevity and men are less likely to visit a dentist for regular preventive dental care, often neglecting their oral health and only visiting a dentist when a problem arises. Regular dental cleanings and exams, along with daily flossing and twice-daily brushing, are key to maintaining a healthy smile.
Plus, men are more than twice as likely as women to develop oral and throat cancer. Regular dental exams are one of the best ways to catch the early signs of oral cancer as a dentist is trained to spot over 120 systemic diseases in the mouth. With early treatment, the five-year survival rate rises from 50 percent to 80 percent.
Lifestyle behaviors that can impact men's oral health include:
Dangers of tobacco (smoking and smokeless)
Men who smoke are more likely to lose their natural teeth with the average male smoker losing 12 teeth by age 72, while the average man will lose closer to 5.4 teeth by the same age. Tobacco use can increase a man’s risk for oral cancer. Similarly, chewing tobacco increases a man’s risk for oral, esophageal and pancreatic cancer. Learn more about smoking and oral health.
Using teeth as tools
Men who use their teeth as tools increase their risk for cracked or chipped teeth – which can lead to the need for a root canal. Remember to make thoughtful choices when needing to open a package of snacks or loosen a bottle cap.
The use of a mouth guard
Men who play organized sports or engage in hobbies like skateboarding should always wear a mouth guard whenever there’s a chance for tooth damage. In addition to keeping teeth safer, they also help prevent inner mouth lacerations and neck injuries.