WE SHOULD ALL BE taking good care of our teeth and gums, but did you know that this can mean different things for men than for women? That’s right: one of the ways men and women are different is their oral health, which is why we’re giving guys some tips for how to keep those handsome smiles clean and healthy.
One major difference between men and women’s oral health is that men have a tendency to be less diligent in taking care of their smiles than women — up to 20 percent less likely to brush twice a day, and less likely to change their toothbrushes regularly. This is such a simple problem to address: just make sure you’re taking the time every morning and evening to brush! Flossing once a day is important too.
On average, men are more likely to drink, smoke, and chew tobacco than women, which puts them at much greater risk of periodontitis (advanced gum disease), tooth loss, and oral cancer. Avoiding these harmful substances will go a long way to protecting your teeth and gums. We recommend drinking less and not smoking or chewing tobacco at all.
Because men are more prone to high blood pressure and heart disease than women, they are more likely to be taking medications for these conditions. A common side effect of these medications is dry mouth, which can pose serious problems for oral health. We need our saliva to wash away bacteria and food particles and keep the pH of our mouths neutral. Less saliva means a greater chance of cavities, gum disease, and halitosis.
Another problem that affects men more than women is that men tend to neglect scheduling regular dental exams. Even if they suspect something might be wrong, there’s a dangerous tendency to want to tough it out in case it goes away. This is not an effective or safe strategy when it comes to dental problems. We recommend twice-yearly dental exams even when you’re confident nothing is wrong. When it comes to dental health, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!
In taking care of their teeth and gums, men should be wary of getting into a “tough guy” mindset. There’s nothing tough about not getting needed treatment for cavities or gum disease, and there’s nothing manly about skipping brushing and flossing or not scheduling regular dental appointments. Keep up with those great oral hygiene habits and don’t be a stranger to the dentist!