Saturday, September 21, 2013

Men and oral health - By Dr. Leslie A. Elston, Dentist

Did you know that studies and surveys have shown men to be 30 percent less likely than women to take care of their physical health and their oral health is equally ignored? 

While addressing your oral health may not increase your stamina, performance and virility, it may just increase your life span. Good oral health has recently been linked with longevity and yet one of the most common factors associated with infrequent dental care is just being male. 

Men often neglect their oral health for years and only seek dental care when a problem arises-this leads to a statistic that shows an average male will lose five teeth by the age of 72 and 12 teeth if he is a smoker.
If you smoke or chew tobacco you are at greater risk of gum disease and oral cancer. Men are actually affected twice as much as females and 90 percent of oral cancers occur in patients over 40.

The most frequent sites are the tongue, floor of mouth, back of the tongue and even your lips and gums. If not diagnosed and treated in early stages, oral cancer can spread leading to chronic pain, irreparable facial and oral disfigurement after surgery and death. If you use tobacco it is important to see your dentist and hygienist for cleanings and oral screenings.

Men are more likely to develop oral and throat cancer as well as periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the result of plaque which hardens into tartar; tartar harbors bacteria which releases toxins that lead to breakdown of the fibers that anchors your gums tightly to the teeth and “pockets” are formed which fill with even more bacteria. Current research has shown that gum disease and cardiovascular disease-such as heart attacks and stroke-are connected. Be sure to visit a dentist if you have any of the warning signs.

                                    .Bleeding gums during brushing
                                    .Red, swollen and tender gums
                                    .Persistent bad breath
                                    .Loose or separating teeth

Medications men may be taking for heart disease or high blood pressure and some antidepressants can affect salivary flow and lead to dry mouth which in turn may lead to greater tooth decay.

The bottom line here is your oral health is an important factor in maintaining your overall health. Get out there and take care of yourselves. See you MD for a physical and visit your dentist regularly.

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