"An online poll of 289 general dentists and consumers confirms the traditional stereotype that men are less likely to visit the dentist than their female counterparts, according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education.
Why? Nearly 45 percent of respondents felt that men don't see a need to go to the dentist, and about 30 percent of those polled reported that men may not visit the dentist because they are afraid or embarrassed to go. Almost 18 percent revealed that men just don't have the time for a dental visit, and about 5 percent felt that men don't even have a regular dentist.
Why is periodontal disease a problem?
Periodontal disease is a result of plaque, which hardens into a rough, porous substance called tartar. The acids produced and released by bacteria found in (plaque and) tartar irritate gums. These acids cause the breakdown of fibers that anchor the gums tightly to the teeth, creating periodontal pockets that fill with even more bacteria. Researchers have found a connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease, which can place people at risk for heart attacks and strokes. See your dentist if you have any of these symptoms:
- Bleeding gums during brushing
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Loose or separating teeth
Do you take medications?
Since men are more likely to suffer from heart attacks, they also are more likely to be on medications that can cause dry mouth. If you take medication for the heart or blood pressure, or if you take antidepressants, your salivary flow could be inhibited, increasing the risk for cavities. Saliva helps to reduce the cavity-causing bacteria found in your mouth (and helps neutralize the acid produced by oral bacteria).
Do you use tobacco?
If you smoke or chew, you have a greater risk for gum disease and oral cancer. Men are affected twice as often as women, and 95 percent of oral cancers occur in those over 40 years of age.
The most frequent oral cancer sites are the tongue, the floor of the mouth, soft palate tissues in back of the tongue, lips and gums. If not diagnosed and treated in its early stages, oral cancer can spread, leading to chronic pain, loss of function, irreparable facial and oral disfigurement following surgery and even death. More than 8,000 people die each year from oral (mouth) and pharyngeal (throat) diseases. If you use tobacco, it is important to see a dentist frequently for cleanings (and oral cancer screenings).
Do you play sports?
If you participate in sports, you have a greater potential for trauma to your mouth and teeth. If you play contact sports, such as football, soccer, basketball and even baseball, it is important to use a mouthguard, which is a flexible appliance made of plastic that protects teeth from trauma. If you ride bicycles or motorcycles, wear a helmet.
TAKING CARE OF YOUR TEETH
To take better care of your oral health, it is important to floss daily, brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice daily and visit your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings. Here are some tips to better dental health:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to reach every surface of each tooth. If the bristles on your toothbrush are bent or frayed, buy a new one.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months or after you've been sick.
- Choose a toothpaste with fluoride. This can reduce tooth decay by as much as 40 percent.
- Brush properly. To clean the outside surfaces of your teeth, position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion using short, gentle strokes. To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle strokes over each tooth and its surrounding gum tissue. Spend at least three minutes brushing.
- Floss properly. Gently insert floss between teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or snap it into place. Curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth and then the other."
There are so many reasons why you should visit our office at least twice a year. We hope that if you are struggling to make the time to take care of yourself, this article has helped you find a few more reasons to take a step in the right direction by scheduling your appointment today! We are here to serve you!
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(541) 451-1440 or TEXT us at 541.6DC.DDS2