November 19th is International Men’s Day. It’s a day when we celebrate the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities.
But did you know that men typically fare worse than women when it comes to oral health? This includes rates of gum disease, tooth loss and oral infections.
In this post, we’ll have a look at some of the dental issues that affect men more than women.
1. Gum problems
In general, men suffer more from gum disease than women. In fact, men have more severe periodontal disease than women of every age.
2. Oral cancer
Statistically, twice as many men as women develop oral cancer, often from smoking, chewing tobacco and drinking alcohol. In addition, white and African American women both have a lower incidence of pharyngeal cancer than men of the same background.
3. Missing teeth
A recent study in the Journal of Aging Research showed that elderly men have fewer teeth than women by a certain age. As a result, they more frequently wore dentures than women. This can cause more gum issues without proper care and maintenance.
4. Higher Risk of HPV
Poor oral health is also a risk factor for oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. More men than women suffer from the oral presentation of this virus, which can lead to oral cancer. Similarly, four times as many men as women suffer from oral cancer associated with HPV.
Why do men have more oral health problems than women?
Some of it can be attributed to the fact that typically, men neglect their dental health routines more so than women. Men are less likely to visit a dentist than women, according to a recent study. Rather than seeing the dentist for regular check-ups as is recommended, men tend to visit a dentist only when they have a problem that needs attention. Research has shown that around 8% more women brush their teeth twice a day than men. Men are also less likely than women to brush their teeth after every meal.
However, further research has shown that the quality of men’s dental health may not be all entirely their own fault. Because there is a higher incidence of heart disease and high blood pressure in men, more men will be taking medications to control these conditions and many of these medications are known to cause dry mouth. Saliva has a protective effect against bacteria, so the chances of dental issues increase when saliva production is low. Even more reason to up your brushing!
What can men do?
We’ve seen that men are at a disadvantage when it comes to oral health. However, there is plenty men can do to reduce their risk of dental problems. Brushing twice per day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing once a day can maintain healthy teeth and gums. A dentist can offer advice on how to help prevent dry mouth.
Remember it is not all doom and gloom. Being aware of a lot of these issues and seeking help early on could make all the difference.