During National Men’s Health Month, the Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA) encourages men to pay close attention to their oral health.
“During men’s health month, we urge men to focus on their well-being, including their oral health,” said Dr. Gary Linker, CSDA President.
Men’s Health Month is a national health education program created to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage the detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.
“Men are less likely than women to seek preventive dental care,” said Dr. Linker, “which is a problem, because poor oral health impacts more than just the mouth.”
Oral health in men has been linked to many other health factors from heart disease to reproductive health issues and cancer. The American Academy of Periodontology has found that gum disease is higher in men (56.4 percent) than in women (38.4 percent).
Gum disease and heart disease are linked, and research shows gum disease increases risk of heart disease. “Maintaining oral health is one way men can reduce their risk of heart disease,” said Dr. Linker.
Men are also two times more likely to get oral cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. This has been attributed to higher rates of alcohol and tobacco use by men.
Research has found that men with a history of gum disease are 14 percent more likely to develop cancer than men with healthy gums.
All the while oral cancer is on the rise. A report by FAIR Health, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing transparency to healthcare data, reports that health insurance claims for oral cancer jumped 61% from 2011 to 2015, with 3 times more men than women reporting having oral cancer.
"Taking the time to visit the dentist is important – especially when you consider all the health benefits that come with good oral health,” said Dr. Linker. “So the CSDA urges men to visit their dentist regularly - it’ll improve your smile and your overall health.”