Consumer News from the ADA-Men's Oral Health

Tough guys — listen up!

You might have muscles and the moxie to make it in the real world, whether you're a construction worker or a Wall Street wizard, but that doesn't make you immune to dental health problems.

Both men and women responding to a national survey last year said a nice smile was a person's most attractive feature — beating out the eyes, hair and body. But the survey also showed that men might be putting their best asset at risk because they are less likely to take care of their dental health.

Most (86 percent) women responding said they brush their teeth twice a day, compared to only 66 percent of men who said they do.

Men also changed their toothbrush less frequently than recommended by the ADA, opting for a new brush on average every five months instead of every three or four months.

And yup, the tough cowboys of the historic American West may have smoked, chewed or thrown back some hooch, but tobacco and alcohol are potential smile wreckers and downright dangerous. Guys who smoke cigars, cigarettes and pipes; use dip, snuff or chewing tobacco; or drink alcohol are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women, and their risk goes up after they hit age 50. Quitting tobacco and moderating or avoiding alcohol can protect those pearly whites and maybe even save your life.

Jocks that play contact sports like soccer, football, basketball and hockey should use a mouthguard to protect their teeth and road warriors who ride bicycles or motorcycles should wear a helmet.

Guys who think seeing a little blood in the sink after brushing is normal should visit the dentist to see if they are developing gum disease. Research has linked gum disease to a variety of other health issues, including heart disease and diabetes. Regular dental checkups are important for people of both genders and all ages.

Taking prescription medications can lead to dry mouth, a condition in which a lack of saliva increases the amount of cavity-causing bacteria that sticks to the teeth, leading to tooth decay.

© 2017 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

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Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.

Keep your teeth clean with an oral health routine.

Establishing an oral health routine is important for a healthy mouth. Try one of our oral health products to help you establish a schedule.