Help the Men in Your Life Improve Their Oral Health
In addition to being the month in which Father’s Day is observed, June is Men’s Health Month.
Although this is a month where the men in your lives may get more attention focused on them, we know of one area where they might prefer you look the other way: Studies show that the fellas aren’t the best at maintaining good oral health regimens.
Many systemic diseases often show early warning signs in the mouth. Numerous systemic diseases also are related to oral health problems. For those reasons, we believe it’s appropriate to do some “real-talk” on this subject during Men’s Health Month.
Surveys and studies from the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Dental Association have found the following trends, according to Delta Dental:
- Men are less likely than women to seek preventive dental care, often opting instead to wait until a problem arises.
- Men typically neglect their oral health for years.
- The average man is less likely to brush after meals (20.5 percent compared with 28.7 percent for women).
- The average man is less likely to brush twice daily (49 percent compared with 56.8 percent for women).
- Men are more likely to develop periodontal disease than women. In people ages 30 to 54, the statistic is 34 percent of men compared with 23 percent of women. In people ages 55 to 90, it increases to 56 percent of men compared to 44 percent of women.
- Men are more likely to develop oral cancer and throat cancer than women.
A healthy mouth promotes overall health. So how do we turn this negative trend around for our husbands, brothers and dads? Instead of (or in addition to) that tie, tool set or tennis racket for Father’s Day this year, perhaps you should schedule a dental appointment for Dad. It starts with a routine exam and X-rays. The diagnostic information gathered during this appointment helps identify whether more serious problems exist that should be addressed. The dentist will discuss a treatment plan for issues that must be addressed.
If there are no problems, Dad will receive a professional teeth cleaning that day. Before he leaves that day, office staff will schedule his next dental cleaning — typically in six-month intervals. Watch to make sure he keeps that next appointment!
A periodontal disease diagnosis could mean that a referral to a periodontist and/or more frequent teeth cleanings will be necessary to keep the disease under control.
If the man is your life fears the dentist, remind him that lots of options are available these days to help relieve anxiety. Also remind him that preventive treatment is painless and less costly than fixing a dental problem. That should give him something to smile about.