Men Need to Brush More to Protect Their Health

Jun 24, 2015, by Dr. Becky Coats

Since June is Men’s Health Month, hopefully every man is taking a little bit more time dedicated to their health. But one simple thing men can do to improve their help is probably still being neglected: oral hygiene. Recent surveys indicate that men are much less likely to make regular dental visits than women, and less than 50% of men brush their teeth twice a day, compared to about 60% of women.

Men need to realize that oral hygiene is a vital component of their overall health.

Why Men Don’t Take the Time for Brushing

Men's Health MonthOur culture is sharply divided in gender roles for men and women, including aspects of personal care. It is expected that women put in a considerable time and effort into their personal care, but for men this is often discouraged. A man who puts too much time and effort into his daily hygiene routine may be mocked and considered less masculine.

Although this doesn’t explicitly include oral hygiene, it implies neglect of oral hygiene by association. If, for example, a man is expected to be able to roll out of bed and be out the door for work in five minutes, odds are pretty slim that he’s going to take two of those minutes to brush his teeth.

But what many men don’t realize is that skipping brushing can have serious effects on their health and even their masculinity. Men are much less likely than women to see oral health as connected to general health, which is a vital piece of understanding that can lead men to undervalue their oral health.

Consequences of Brushing Less

We often focus on the link between brushing our teeth and the risk of developing cavities, but that’s not necessarily the most serious consequence of brushing less. In fact, men and women have about the same risk of cavities. But because men are less likely to visit the dentist, they are much more likely to have cavities still in need of fillings.

But where men really suffer is in the area of gum disease. Overall, men are about 50% more likely to have gum disease, and they are twice as likely to have severe gum disease.

And gum disease can have a serious impact on men’s health.

Gum Disease Impacts Men’s Health

The leading cause of death in men in the US is heart disease. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease. Oral bacteria enter the blood, causing inflammation in the heart and blood vessels. Oral bacteria have also been found clogging the arteries. This isn’t just a theoretical link, either, it translates into dollars and cents, since treating gum disease saves money on cardiovascular care.

Men should also know that gum disease is linked to blood cancers, pancreatic cancer, and kidney cancer.

And here’s something that might make some men pay attention. Gum disease may impact a man’s sexual health. Gum disease is linked to inflammation of the prostate, and men with gum disease are three times more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.

There’s nothing manly about skipping your tooth brushing. Make a commitment to brush your teeth and protect your oral health.

If you’re looking for a Grapevine dentist who can help you maintain your oral health, whether you’re a man or a woman, please call (817) 481-6888 for an appointment at Grapevine Dental Care today.