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Dental health is essential for everyone, regardless of gender. Because it’s connected to overall health, poor dental health can contribute to various diseases and health conditions.
Men are less likely than women to care for their oral health.1 Research shows they are less aware of its impact on their overall health and are less inclined than women to take preventative measures.
Statistics show that men, on average, brush their teeth 1.9 times a day and will lose five teeth by the age of 72.2 They are more likely only to visit the dentist only when they have an acute need rather than for preventive care.
They are also more likely to smoke cigarettes than women. A 2015 study showed that 16.7% of adult males smoked cigarettes, as opposed to 13.6% of adult females.3 This increases their risk of developing dental health issues.
Common oral health concerns that are more prevalent in men than women include:
Men who do not partake in proper oral health care are more likely to develop certain diseases and conditions, especially those linked with poor dental health. These conditions include:
Studies indicate a connection between poor oral health and cardiovascular disease. While researchers have yet to establish the exact link, it’s possible the bacteria that infect the gums can travel elsewhere in the body and cause inflammation and damage.4
Neglecting your oral health allows bacteria to multiply or cause oral infections, which can spread.
Endocarditis occurs when the inside lining of the heart chambers and valves become inflamed. A bacterial infection is the primary cause. An oral infection could spread to the heart through the blood and cause endocarditis.5
Research indicates that the bacteria responsible for gum disease may play a role in developing Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.6 It’s possible these bacteria enter the brain through the bloodstream.
Older adults with gum disease are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. In turn, conditions like dementia can make it harder for people to care for their dental health.
Diabetes impacts dental health. When blood sugar levels are higher than normal, they’re also higher in saliva. This can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and cavities.7
Newer research shows that oral health, especially periodontal disease, may also predict diabetes.8
Some bacteria in the mouth can be inhaled into the lungs. A proliferation of harmful bacteria or an infection can cause lung inflammation, leading to or exacerbating respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or pneumonia.9
Studies show that poor oral health, especially periodontitis, puts men at a higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction (ED).10 The severity of periodontitis is correlated with the severity of ED.
Staying on top of your oral health is the best way to prevent health issues. Follow these tips to keep your teeth, mouth, and entire body healthy:
Taking care of your dental health involves taking care of your overall health.
Visit your dentist twice a year for routine cleanings and check-ups. Also, contact your dentist if you experience any of the following signs of oral health issues:
These symptoms indicate that your dental health may need medical attention. A diligent, preventative care routine can prevent symptoms and health issues.
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