The month of June has always been dedicated to the men in our lives, particularly our dads. June just so happens to also be Men’s Health Month, a time for all of us to encourage the men closest to us to focus on their overall health, including their oral health. After all, as your dentist in Chapel Hill knows, there’s a strong connection between what goes inside the mouth and the rest of the body. So this June, let’s take a minute to talk about why dental care is so important, especially for men.
Men Are More Likely To Avoid The Dentist
A study conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry showed that men are less likely than women to see their dentist in Chapel Hill regularly. In fact, many men don’t go to the dentist at all unless they’re experiencing a dental emergency. However, the truth is, if men were to see their dentist twice a year, they may be able to avoid those emergencies altogether. Regular preventive dental visits do just that — prevent problems from occurring in the first place. Professional cleanings remove plaque buildup that regular brushing and flossing at home can’t touch. This alone helps lower the risk of dental problems.
Top Dental Concerns for Men
- Gum Disease. Years of research by both the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry concluded that men are more likely to develop gum disease than women. One study found that 34% of men between the ages of 30-54 have gum disease compared to 23% of women. If untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss. In fact, on average, a man will lose more than 5 teeth by the time he reaches age 72. But that’s not all. Gum disease can also affect more than just your oral health and has been tied to overall health problems such as heart disease, respiratory problems, certain cancers, and poor prostate health. If diagnosed early, gum disease can be treated before it has a chance to affect the rest of the body. This is just one reason why seeing a dentist in Chapel Hill every six months is so important.
- Oral Cancer. More than 53,000 people will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone. Of those, nearly 10,000 will die from the disease. Oral cancer can be found in any of the soft tissues in the mouth, including the tongue, lips, cheeks, or way back into the throat (oropharyngeal cancer). Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women, and four times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer. However, oral cancer can be treated and cured if it’s caught early. Again, one more reason everyone should see their dentist regularly.
- Necessary Advanced Dental Treatments. When we avoid our dentist in Chapel Hill, we put ourselves at risk for the serious oral health diseases above. But skipping dental appointments can also cause problems to teeth and the need for advanced dental treatment. For example, when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth over time, it greatly increases the risk of decay. Now, when a small area of decay is caught early it would only require a small filling. But if the decay is not treated, it will only get bigger and deeper into the tooth. If this happens, your dentist will need to perform a root canal to remove the infected area of the tooth. Afterward, your dentist may also need to place a dental crown to cover up the treated area. If the decay is left untreated for even longer, it can lead to a lot of pain and perhaps be too damaged to save a repair. At this time, the tooth would need to be extracted and ideally replaced with a dental implant or dental bridge.
There are many ways that poor oral health can affect overall health and require the need for advanced dental treatment. The best way to avoid that is to see your dentist regularly and to encourage every member of your family, especially the men, to do the same.
P.S. Don’t forget Father’s Day is June 21st!