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Updated on October 18, 2022

The Importance of Good Dental Health for Men

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Why is Dental Health Important for Men?

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.

Common Oral Health Concerns in Men

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:

  • Higher rates of periodontal disease
  • Increased likelihood of oral cancer
  • Risk of dental trauma
  • Dental caries (tooth decay)

6 Health Risks Linked to Poor Oral Health in Men

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:

1. Cardiovascular Disease

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.

2. Endocarditis

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

3. Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease

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.

4. Diabetes

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

5. Respiratory Diseases

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

6. Erectile Dysfunction

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.

Best Dental Health Routine for Men

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:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste
  • Floss once daily
  • Visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings
  • Maintain a nutritious diet and reduce consumption of sugary drinks and foods
  • Quit or reduce smoking

Taking care of your dental health involves taking care of your overall health.

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When to See a Dentist

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:

  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Ulcers or sores that won’t heal
  • Jaw or tooth pain
  • Sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Dry mouth

These symptoms indicate that your dental health may need medical attention. A diligent, preventative care routine can prevent symptoms and health issues.

Summary

Men are more likely than women to neglect their oral health and have higher rates of dental issues. Oral health is closely linked with overall health and should be taken seriously. 

Neglecting proper oral care increases the risk of developing conditions such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes.

Visit the dentist at least twice annually for preventative care. For optimal oral health, brush and floss daily. Schedule a dentist appointment immediately if you notice symptoms such as swollen or bleeding gums, toothache, or chronic bad breath.

10 Sources Cited
Last updated on October 18, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Lipsky, M., et al. “Men and Oral Health: A Review of Sex and Gender Differences.” American Journal of Men’s Health, PubMed Central, 2021
  2. Why is Oral Health Important for Men?” College of Dentistry, University of Illinois Chicago, 2017
  3. Are there gender differences in tobacco smoking?” National Institute on Drug Abuse, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2022 
  4. Shmerling, R. “Gum disease and the connection to heart disease.” Harvard Health Publishing, The President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2021
  5. Bumm, C., et al. “Infective endocarditis and oral health—a Narrative Review.” Cardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy, National Library of Medicine, 2021
  6. Large study links gum disease with dementia.” National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, 2020 
  7. Diabetes and Oral Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2021
  8. Chang, Y., et al. “Improved oral hygiene is associated with decreased risk of new-onset diabetes: a nationwide population-based cohort study.” Diabetologia, Springer Nature, 2020
  9. Dental Health and Lung Disease.” Patient Education Information Series, American Thoracic Society, 2022.
  10. Connolly, L. “The effects of oral health on erectile dysfunction.” BDJ Team, Springer Nature, 2022
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