Buck Up, Men. It’s Time to go to the Dentist
Men often get credit for being the tougher of the sexes, but one area where studies show fear often gets the best of them is in the preventive dental care department.
Consider these facts from several dentistry-related studies and surveys:
- Women are almost twice as likely to have received a regular dental checkup in the past year.
- Women are more likely to schedule any recommended treatment following the dental checkup.
- Men are less likely to brush after every meal – nearly 21 percent, compared with nearly 29 percent for women.
- Men are less likely to brush teeth twice daily – 49 percent compared with almost 57 percent for women.
- Men are more prone to periodontal disease than women – 34-56 percent compared with 23-44 percent for women, based on age.
There are some important reasons why men should pay particular attention to their oral health.
Men who are prescribed various heart, blood pressure and depression medications may experience dry mouth as a result. Decreased saliva flow increases the likelihood of getting periodontal disease, which cannot be cured, only maintained. Many of the harmful effects of periodontal disease cannot be reversed.
“Routine dental cleanings and checkups make it possible for us to identify periodontal disease in its early stages and prevent it from worsening,” says San Francisco dentist Dr. Robert Walley.
Globally, about 40 percent of men smoke, compared with almost 9 percent of women, according to the World Health Organization. That makes men far more susceptible to the oral health-related negative effects of tobacco products, such as oral cancer.
Contact sports increase a man’s potential to suffer dental trauma, particularly when he doesn’t wear a mouth guard.
Ways Men Can Improve Their Oral Health
- Schedule dental exams, and keep the appointment! You should see your dentist at least twice annually, and perhaps more often if you have periodontal disease or other dental issues that make you a high-risk patient.
- Brush and floss regularly. That means brushing at least twice daily, and flossing at least once a day.
- Quit tobacco products. This can improve oral and overall health.
- Wear a mouth guard if you play contact sports.
“We want men and women alike to understand that just because they’ve had negative dental experiences in the past, not every dental visit has to be scary or painful,” Dr. Walley says. “Also, we remind patients all the time that maintaining preventive appointments means there’s a good chance of avoiding dental issues that require treatment, and treating small issues before they become big ones.”
Although it may sound counterintuitive, your key to alleviating dental fears and anxieties related to dental appointments lies in making those appointments. Please call today if you would like to schedule
an exam .
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