June is Men’s Health Month, and with Father’s Day smack dab in the middle of this month, it’s a perfect time to talk about men’s oral health. Research has shown that dads, and men in general, typically have worse oral health than women. Neglecting to take care of your oral health can spell disaster for your overall health. Staying healthy should be an important part of being a dad. So, this June, let’s look at ways that men can take better care of their oral health.
Do Men Really Have Worse Oral Health Than Women?
Studies have shown that the average man is less likely than the average woman to brush his teeth twice a day. He is also more likely to have untreated tooth decay. Women are almost twice as likely to go to regular dental checkups and follow the recommended treatment prescribed at those checkups. They also have lower risk of gum disease. When it comes to being proactive about oral health, women are the clear winners.
How Important Is It to Maintain Proper Oral Health?
Failing to take care of your teeth and gums to lead to other health problems like gum disease. Gum disease has been linked to cardiovascular disease, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. If you have signs of gum disease, like red, swollen gums, loose teeth, or persistent bad breath, tell your dentist immediately.
There are a few circumstances that necessitate extra vigilance when taking care of your teeth, including:
- Using tobacco products. Smoking or chewing tobacco puts you more at risk for gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer. Be sure to see your dentist frequently for cleanings and early detection of any problems.
- Taking certain medications, like antidepressants or blood pressure meds. Medications like these can cause the mouth to stop producing enough saliva. This increases your risk of cavities, because saliva washes away leftover food particles that can damage the teeth. If you’re taking these medications, increase your water intake to help protect your teeth.
- Playing sports. Contact sports like football or hockey can increase your potential for your teeth to be injured or knocked out. Ask your dentist about getting a custom-made mouthguard to protect your teeth during sports.
How Can I Take Better Care of My Oral Health?
Here are a few simple steps to improve your dental health:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. For best results use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months or immediately after you’ve been sick.
- Floss at least once a day, ideally after each meal.
- Visit your dentist every six months for routine checkups and cleanings.
This Men’s Health Month, it’s important to recognize that taking care of your oral health is about a lot more than just your mouth. Get yourself a present this Father’s Day. Make yourself a promise that you’ll treat your teeth and gums better. Your future self with thank you!
About the Author
Dr. Kelly Blair received her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 2005 from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She now has her own practice in Fort Worth, TX. She frequently pursues continuing education hours to improve her dental proficiency and help patients achieve the best smiles they can. If you would like her advice on how you can maintain great oral health, click here or call (817)-737-5155.