Men – Take On The Challenges In Oral Health Upkeep.

Posted on May 05, 2024 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

If you’re a male, or have ones in your life you love, the following information will be good-to-know. This is filled with reasons why you (or they) should make oral health a priority.

Let’s begin with the hazards of gum disease. According to a survey by the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), only 66% of males brush their teeth twice or more a day (compared with 86% of females).

Flossing stats weren’t much better, but that proved to be the case with both sexes. Only 49% in the survey said they were daily flossers with 1 out of 3 with the misconception that seeing blood in the sink when brushing is normal (it’s not).

Periodontal (gum) disease is the result of an over-accumulation of oral bacteria. It begins with Gingivitis.

Gingivitis is caused by the toxins in plaque. Plaque is the sticky layer of bacteria that coats teeth and gums. When not removed (through regular brushing and flossing), it can harden into a form known as tartar (that can no longer be brushed away).

Gingivitis is typically treated with a professional cleaning and thorough at-home care. Some cases may require root planing and deep scaling procedures to rid the gum tissue of debris pockets (pus-filled bulges on gum tissues). This procedure reaches bacteria that has penetrated beneath the gum line.

The next stage of gum disease is known as chronic periodontal disease. The most common form of gum disease, this is characterized by inflammation beneath the gum line with damage to gums and bone tissue. At this level, treatment includes scaling and root planing along with antimicrobial treatments. In some stages, surgical procedures are also necessary for pocket reduction. Some cases require tissue grafts to strengthen the bone and improve the appearance of the smile.

As gum disease worsens, it moves to periodontitis, a more aggressive stage of gum disease. Periodontitis has similar symptoms to those listed above but tends to progress at a faster pace. Because this stage of gum disease is more difficult to combat, treatment is the same treatment needed for chronic periodontal disease along with surgical intervention. A combined treatment of scaling, root planing, antimicrobial, and surgical procedures may save oral tissue and bone.

Periodontal disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss, affecting over 47% of adults ages 30 and over. Research has found that gum disease is higher in men (over 56%) than in women (38%).

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) notes that men are typically less likely to sufficiently maintain their oral health. Oral health should be especially concerning for men since they have some challenging odds against them as far as health statistics go. These include:

• Men have higher rates of periodontal (gum) disease, tooth loss, and oral infections. Because statistics show that men typically have poorer dental habits than women, they tend to have more dental health problems. Men can’t blame this on biological predisposition as the statistic is based upon lifestyle choices (such as not brushing, etc).

Men tend to have higher blood pressure, putting them at an increased risk for heart disease later in life. Medications that treat these conditions can cause dry mouth, which ups the risks to their oral health.

• Elderly men typically have fewer teeth than women of the same age, and need dentures more than women. Although research shows a correlation between tooth loss and body mass index, elderly men having few teeth is the result of poor dental habits and attention to dental health accumulated over time.

• Oral cavity and oropharyngeal (throat) cancers are twice as common in men than in women. It is suspected that this is due to men being more likely to have a history of tobacco and alcohol use.

HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers occur more often in men. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U. S. HPV can lead to certain types of cancer and is thought to cause 70% of oropharyngeal cancers in the U.S. The development of oropharyngeal cancer due to HPV is about three times less prominent in females than in men of the same age.

While a healthy smile is important to both genders, older adults should pay particular attention to having a good oral health. By CDC estimates, approximately 13% of adults ages 65 – 74 have no teeth. For people ages 75 and older, that number jumps to 26% (over one-fourth!).

Too, ALL ADULTS should be concerned with the overall health repercussions related to the inflammatory bacteria of gum disease. Able to enter the bloodstream through tears in diseased oral tissues, these bacteria can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. This has been associated with the development or worsening of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, diabetes, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, elevated PSA levels, and respiratory diseases.

Also applicable to all adults, the Journal of Periodontology shared nine risk factors for tooth loss due to periodontal (gum) disease, including …
 • Being over age 35
 • Being male
 • Not having professional dental care
 • Not brushing teeth
 • Smoking
 • Being diabetic
 • Having high blood pressure
 • Having rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Treating gum disease before it becomes severe can be done comfortably and affordably. In our Asheville periodontal dental office, we use cutting-edge technology that often minimizes treatment needs, lessens healing time, and optimizes comfort.

If dental fears have caused you to delay or avoid having regular dental care, consider beginning with a consultation. As a periodontist, I know many individuals like that this occurs in a comfortable, private consultation room. We can discuss the use of oral or I.V. sedation (sleep dentistry, or “twilight sleep”) during procedures. These are administered safely with patients monitored with advanced safety equipment throughout treatment.

If financial constraints are an obstacle in receiving treatment, we offer several payment plans. Most are interest-free with no down payment required (for qualified individuals).

Call 828-274-9440 to begin with a private consultation to discuss your best options. New patients are welcome and a referral is not needed.



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