MEN LACK GOOD DENTAL HABITS

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CHICAGO (February 7, 2001) - Dad's a busy guy, and his healthcare routine may be one of the first things to be neglected in his dash through the day. Overall, men are less likely than women to take care of their physical health, and - according to recent surveys and studies - their oral health is equally ignored. Good oral health recently has been linked with longevity. Yet, one of the most common factors associated with infrequent dental checkups is just being male.

Men are less likely than women to seek preventive dental care and often neglect their oral health for years, visiting a dentist only when a problem arises, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

When it comes to oral health, statistics show that the average man brushes his teeth 1.9 times a day and will lose 5.4 teeth by age 72. If he smokes, he can plan on losing 12 teeth by age 72. Men are also more likely to develop oral and throat cancer.

"Men don't visit the dentist because they tend to think their teeth are invincible," says J. Nick Russo, DDS, FAGD, immediate past president of the Academy. "Many men will change the oil in their cars more regularly than they visit a dentist."

Most people know that neglecting oral health means risking cavities and gum disease. In recent years however, researchers also have found a connection between gum disease and coronary vascular disease, which can place people at risk for heart attacks and strokes. In individuals with diabetes, gum disease is associated with poor control of insulin levels.

In addition to combating cavities and gum disease, the Academy reminds men that during regular dental visits a dentist can also:

  • Help improve bad breath. More than 90 million people suffer; the most common cause is poor oral hygiene.
  • Detect early stages of oral cancer. Approximately 40,000 new cases are reported each year; men are twice as likely as women to develop the disease.
  • Custom fit a mouthguard. More than 200,000 injuries to the mouth and jaw occur each year; mouthguards can prevent concussions, cerebral hemorrhages, jaw fractures and neck injuries.
  • Temper snoring habits. More than 60 percent of men snore between the age of 41 - 65.
  • Whiten and brighten teeth. Studies show a good smile can bolster one's professional image.
  • Recommend tobacco cessation programs. Dental implant failure is strongly linked to tobacco use.

The Academy has a men's health section in Just for You on its Web site at www.agd.org where men can learn more about their oral health. Consumers can get names, addresses and phone numbers of up to three general dentists, by calling 877/2X-A-YEAR or by visiting the Academy's Web site.

The Academy of General Dentistry is a non-profit organization of more than 37,000 general dentists dedicated to staying up-to-date in the profession through continuing education. A general dentist is the primary care provider for patients of all ages and is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, management and overall coordination of services related to patient's oral health needs.


Source: Academy of General Dentistry.