CHICAGO (July 17, 2009) - Many men's mouths fall silent when questioned about frequency of regular dental visits. Just being male puts one at risk for infrequent dental checkups and poor oral health, which can decrease a man's longevity, according to a recent article in AGD Impact, the monthly newsmagazine of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).
Higher incidences of diabetes and heart disease decrease how long a man may live, according to the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association. Researchers find that men with periodontal disease may be placed more at risk for complications related to diabetes and heart disease. "Men need to know that a healthy mouth leads to a healthy body," says Scott Cayouette , DMD, FAGD and AGD spokesperson.
Periodontal disease can be prevented; yet, t he average man only 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 also are more likely than women to develop oral and throat cancer and periodontal (gum) disease.
"Men may neglect their oral health for years, visiting a dentist only after a problem arises," says Dr. Cayouette. He may see some of his male patients only after a dental emergency. "I also treat more men for stress-induced tooth fractures caused by worrying about the economy."
Dr. Cayouette explains that when stressed, men will clench or grind their teeth so hard that stress fractures occur, treatment which may require a dental visit, examination, crown and in extreme cases, extraction. Also, he treats men with tooth fractures that resulted from lifting heavy weights.
This June, which is National Men's Health Month, the AGD encourages men to find a dentist, schedule an appointment and follow these easy (and inexpensive) tips to improve oral health:
See a general dentist twice a year and get regular cleanings
Stash "floss and toss" tools in cars, office drawers and backpacks.
Can't brush? Swish with water or chew sugar free gum with xylitol to stimulate saliva flow
Brush teeth with fluoridated toothpaste
Play sports? Lift heavy weights? Get a custom athletic mouthguard made by your dentist to protect teeth from trauma.
Problems with fracturing teeth related to stress? Talk to your dentist about a custom occlusal biteguard to prevent further damage to your teeth.
Use the same site to find a dentist in your neighborhood
Reviewed: January 2012