September 22, 2008
Contact PDA: (717) 234-5941
What You Need to Know About Men's Oral Health
Studies show that men are less likely than women to visit the dentist, often visiting the dentist only after a problem arises, rather than seeking regular, preventative care.
As the link between oral health and overall health has been proven significant, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) encourages the public, regardless of gender, to pay careful attention to their dental health needs and visit the dentist for preventative oral health care every six months.
Because men are more prone to develop periodontal (gum) disease, they should be on the lookout for any possible symptoms that require a call to the dentist, such as bleeding, red, swollen or sore gums, persistent bad breath or loose teeth. To help prevent periodontal disease, PDA suggests brushing twice a day, flossing daily and choosing nutritious meals and snacks from the five main food groups.
"Studies have shown that systemic diseases, like diabetes, have a direct effect on the health of your gums and bone surrounding your teeth," said Dr. Steven Grater, a PDA member and general dentist from Harrisburg. "Continued dental care will prevent these systemic diseases from allowing periodontal disease to destroy your oral health."
Scientific evidence has also shown a link between periodontal disease and heart disease. Regardless of life stage or gender, it is important to inform your dentist of any medications you are taking, especially before any major dental procedure. Many cardiovascular medications can also lead to dry mouth, a reduced flow of saliva. Symptoms of dry mouth include sore throat, burning sensation, difficulty speaking or swallowing, hoarseness or dry nasal passages. If left untreated, dry mouth can pave the way for tooth decay. If you suspect you are suffering from dry mouth, it is important to consult your dentist, who may recommend sucking on sugar-free candy or gum or the use of an artificial saliva or oral rinse.
Oral cancer historically affects twice as many men than women. To help protect against oral cancer, avoid tobacco and alcohol use; visit the dentist every six months for regular checkups and ensure that oral cancer screenings are part of every six-month checkup; wear lip balm that contains sunscreen as prolonged exposure to the sun can cause lip cancer; and eat nutritious foods, particularly fruits and vegetables.View more information about men's oral health.
Pennsylvania Dental Association
Founded in 1868, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) is comprised of approximately 6,000 member dentists. It is a constituency of the American Dental Association (ADA), the largest and oldest national dental society in the world. PDA’s mission is to improve the public health, promote the art and science of dentistry and represent the interests of its member dentists and their patients. PDA is the voice of dentistry in Pennsylvania. Learn more about PDA.