Why Men Are at Increased Risk for Oral Health Problems

Prevention is Key

Your dentist in Hyde Park knows just how important it is to get a dental checkup at least every six months. These visits are crucial to monitoring oral health as well as giving each and every patient a professional cleaning that helps remove stuff from your teeth and gums that you simply can’t touch at home. However, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, men are less likely to schedule and complete these preventive appointments and instead only see the dentist when they’re experiencing a problem. For this reason alone, men are at increased risk for oral health problems, some of which can be pretty serious and include:

Gum Disease. Gum disease is a serious infection that occurs in the gum tissue of the mouth. If not treated quickly and effectively, it can lead to tooth loss and a whole host of other whole-body problems. In fact, numerous studies have shown a connection between gum disease and the increased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, respiratory problems, and poor prostate health in men. Additionally, men are at greater risk of developing gum disease than women. According to The American Dental Association, around 34% of men ages 30-54 have gum disease as compared to 23% of women in the same age range.

Oral Cancer. Another serious oral health condition that tends to affect men more than women is oral cancer. Oral cancer can occur in any of the soft tissues in the mouth, including lips, tongue, and cheeks, as well as in the throat. Men are two times more likely to get oral cancer than women and four times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer, cancer that affects the way back of the mouth. It can be treated with early intervention, but when it’s not caught early, it can spread to other areas of the body and may lead to death. This is just another reason why seeing your dentist in Hyde Park every six months can help protect your overall health.

The Need for Advanced Dental Care. Since men tend to avoid preventive dental appointments, they’re at increased risk for the need for advanced dental care. Just like most things in life, when a dental problem is left untreated, the solution is often more complicated than it would have been if caught earlier. What may have been a small area of decay a few months ago may now be a deep cavity, and the treatment can vary greatly. In the early stages, decay can usually be treated with a minor filling. However, if the decay infects too much of the tooth it may require a root canal and perhaps a dental crown. If decay is left alone for even longer, it may cause pain and require a tooth extraction, which should then be replaced with a dental implant or dental bridge. So while preventive dental appointments may seem unnecessary, if nothing is wrong, there can be problems lurking just below the surface that can be fixed immediately and easily before they cause problems and require advanced dental treatment.

Lifestyle Factors Play a Role

Besides skipping out dental appointments every six months, men are also more likely to engage in lifestyle factors that also increase the risk of oral health problems such as:

  • Smoking or using smokeless tobacco
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Having poor oral hygiene habits

While it’s important for everyone to see their dentist in Hyde Park every six months, men tend to need a little extra encouragement. So for this Men’s Health Month, and every month, we invite men to break the mold and schedule an appointment. Your mouth, and your overall health, will thank you for it.

Four Causes of Tooth Loss

When many of us think about losing our teeth, we may assume that this is something that just happens as we get older. But, according to the American Dental Association, more Americans are keeping their teeth longer than ever before, which is great news! However, this doesn’t just happen naturally and there are things we need to do to increase our chances of keeping all of our teeth for life. Because of this, your dentist in Hyde Park wants to share some of the most common things that cause teeth to fall out so you can do everything you can to avoid them.

Gum Disease

The number one cause of tooth loss in American adults is gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease occurs when bacteria work their way up under the gum tissue and settle in, causing an infection. This infection can be treated if caught early, but if it’s not taken care of, it will begin to destroy both the gum tissue and the jaw bone — both of which help hold teeth in place. Without this support structure, teeth will become loose and eventually fall out

Cavities

Almost all of us have experienced at least one cavity and know the discomfort that can come along with it. The reason cavities hurt is that a cavity is essentially a tiny hole in a tooth that may affect the inner workings of the tooth where the nerves and roots are held. The result is the all too familiar zing of tooth pain. Cavities can be treated quickly and easily by your dentist in Hyde Park if they’re caught early. However, when they’re left untreated, cavities can destroy a tooth from the inside out and either require a root canal or result in a lost tooth

Accidents or Trauma

Even if you take perfect care of your teeth you may still experience tooth loss as a result of an accident or trauma. Tooth loss is an incredibly common side effect of many sports injuries and even car accidents or falls. While we can’t do much to completely avoid accidents or trauma to our teeth, we can take certain preventive measures such as wearing a mouthguard every time we play a sport

Whole-Body Health Concerns

Other common causes of tooth loss in adults don’t initially appear to have anything to do with the mouth and actually originate and directly affect other areas of the body. However, there is a strong correlation between what happens in our bodies and what happens in our mouths. Therefore, there are several whole-body health concerns that can increase the risk of tooth loss, such as:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Poor Diet
  • Arthritis

Nobody wants to experience tooth loss, but the good news is there are some simple things you can do to give yourself the best chance of keeping your teeth for life. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth every single day, avoid smoking or using tobacco products, and of course, see your dentist in Hyde Park at least every six months for regular checkups and cleanings.