Oral health challenges unique to men

Men are more likely than women to suffer from gum disease, dental trauma, oral cancers and many other dental issues. Why are they at higher risk for so many oral health problems? There are a few different reasons and some are more preventable than others.

Men are more likely to have poor oral health habits

In general, men brush and floss less than women. This allows bacteria and plaque to buildup in the mouth, eventually leading to cavities, tooth decay and gum disease.

Men spend more time in the sun

Extra exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation creates a higher risk for oral and skin cancers. Time in the sun can also create symptoms of dehydration, like dry mouth and bad breath.

Men often skip their scheduled dental cleanings

Instead, they tend to visit the dentist after a problem has worsened – making treatment more difficult and expensive. It’s important to go to your routine, preventive checkups to receive a cleaning and an oral health screening, which helps your dentist diagnose and treat problems early.

Men lose testosterone as they age

As men age, naturally lower testosterone levels can contribute to tooth loss and gum recession. It may also play a part in the development of chronic gum disease, but more research is needed to understand if there is a link.

Men are more likely to drink alcohol and use tobacco

Alcohol and tobacco use increase your risk for many oral and overall health problems: gum disease, cavities and tooth decay, several types of cancer, heart disease, weight gain and obesity and more.

  • If you drink, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a limit of two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
  • If you currently use tobacco products, including vapes and chewing tobacco, health experts recommend you quit.

Men sustain more oral injuries from games and sports

Men are less likely to wear mouth guards and are more likely to suffer injury in contact sports such as football, basketball, hockey, soccer or wrestling.

How to protect your teeth and gums

For many men, better oral health may be as simple as changing a few habits and practicing good preventive care.

When you’re caring for your smile, men should:

  • Brush twice a day for two minutes each time and floss once.
    • Use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
    • Reach the entire surface of each tooth and brush at a 45-degree angle near the gumline.
  • Prioritize your routine and preventive dentist appointments.
  • Follow recommended guidelines for alcohol consumption and avoid all tobacco.
  • Wear a mouth guard and other safety gear when you play sports.
  • If you have low testosterone, be sure to tell your dentist.

If you struggle with your oral health or experience any new problems, always reach out to your dentist. They can help diagnose and treat the issue.

Take care of your oral health

Men do have a higher risk of oral health problems, but much of this risk can be reduced or avoided. Daily care and making a few simple lifestyle changes can help you maintain your smile and overall wellness.