If we asked people on the street whether they think men or women have more oral health issues, the responses would probably be fairly split. After all, what does our gender have to do with our teeth?
Apparently, at least a little bit. While there’s nothing intrinsically different about our teeth or the way we have to care for them, there are certain reasons why men have more oral health issues than women. Let’s go over some of the most common reasons below!
1. Statistics show men are not brushing as often as women.
Alright, we hate to play the blame game, but one of the main reasons men have more oral health issues than women comes down to good old fashioned brushing and flossing. There have been several studies done on this, but on average, women are 8% more likely than men to brush their teeth twice every day.
Brushing and flossing regularly is probably THE biggest thing you can do to keep your teeth healthy. We all need to be brushing twice each day for two minutes each, and flossing at least once each day. 4-5 minutes per day is all it takes to keep your teeth looking and feeling good. We all have time for that!
2. They’re also scheduling fewer dental checkups.
In addition to not brushing and flossing as frequently as women, it looks like men are also not visiting the dentist as often. According to a 2019 article written by Colgate, “Women are almost twice as likely to have received regular dental checkups in the past year, scheduled the recommended treatment following those checkups; and had better indicators of periodontal health, including lower incidence of dental plaque, calculus and bleeding on probing, all of which can be used as markers of periodontal disease.”
Dental checkups are so important because they can help pinpoint issues before they require major intervention. It’s also a really good opportunity to spot early warning signs for oral cancer. It’s about more than just taking x-rays and getting your teeth scraped!
3. Men participate in riskier behavior.
Smoking, drug use, and excessive alcohol consumption can all wreak major havoc on your oral health, not to mention, lead to oral cancer. The truth is, men are more likely than women to participate in this kind of risky behavior. Coupled with a less stringent oral hygiene routine and fewer visits to the dentist, this is definitely a cause for concern.
4. Men play more contact sports.
Traumatic tooth injuries like cracks, chips, or lost teeth are fairly common when you’re participating in contact sports like football, rugby, and wrestling. A majority of the people who play these sports are men, so that is why we see this happen more in that group. Of course, wearing the proper protective equipment — like mouthguards and helmets — will decrease the likelihood that something like this will happen to you.
5. Some issues are linked to conditions that impact men specifically.
There are some oral health issues that are caused by or exacerbated by health conditions that men may experience. For example, gum inflammation has been shown to be linked to an enlarged prostate, which “affects about 50 percent of men between the ages of 51 and 60 and up to 90 percent of men older than 80” according to sources.
Periodontal disease has also been linked to heart disease and diabetes. While these conditions can impact both men and women, the risky behavior we described above can cause men to experience these serious health concerns earlier than women. Keeping periodontal disease at bay can be one way to stay healthier, longer.
Staying healthy means seeing your dentist regularly, so let’s schedule your next dental cleaning! Call us at 708-460-6699 or click here to request an appointment!