Men's Oral Health and Overall Health
Men's Health Month is celebrated in June to remind men to take care of their health and to encourage regular doctor visits. Studies show that men are less likely than women to take care of their health in general – and oral health even less likely. Oral health is linked to overall health so it's important for men to get to the dentist.1
Men often visit a dentist only when there is a problem according to the Academy of General Dentistry, and the average man brushes his teeth 1.9 times a day and will lose 5.4 teeth by age 72. If he smokes, he can plan on losing 12 teeth by age 72. Men are also twice as likely to develop oral and throat cancer as women, and men are more likely to have gum disease.1 In fact, about 56 percent of men have gum disease compared to 38 percent of women.2
“Men are often less concerned than women about preventive dental care and are less likely to floss or visit the dentist every year,” said Katina Spadoni, DDS, dental director for Delta Dental of Illinois. “Missing regular dental checkups can lead to more serious and expensive oral health problems and can affect overall health.”
According to research, men with gum disease are 49 percent more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer and 30 percent more likely to develop blood cancers.3 Research also shows a link between gum disease and heart disease.2 Maintaining good oral health can help men reduce their risk of developing cancer and heart disease.
Oral health is closely linked with overall health, and visiting the dentist regularly can help prevent many diseases that affect men the most. During a regular dental exam, the dentist can detect more than 120 diseases that have symptoms that affect the mouth, including oral cancer and diabetes. The dentist can also help reverse gum disease if treated early.
In addition, men are also at risk of suffering from dental injuries as a result of playing contact sports. Mouthguards can prevent injuries to the mouth and should be worn when playing football, basketball, baseball and hockey. Helmets can also prevent injuries to the head and mouth and should be worn when riding a bicycle or motorcycle.
Maintaining good oral health is important, and men may need a little additional prodding to get to the dentist or doctor. Bringing men's health to the forefront and encouraging them to go to the doctor or dentist can greatly improve their overall health and well-being, and it may save their life.