Examining Men’s Health Week with These Important Oral Health Stats

June 12, 2017

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June is Men’s Health Month across the United States, and during the week of June 12-18, it becomes an international event known as Men’s Health Week.

Whether you’re living in the U.S. or not, there’s good reason to pay attention to this collection of important oral health statistics we’ve collected and analyzed in time for Men’s Health Week this year:

Yes, smoking is still bad for you

You’ve likely already heard many of the compelling reasons you shouldn’t be smoking. For instance, it’s consistently the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, averaging 480,000 (or about 20 percent of all deaths) annually.

"June is Men’s Health Month across the United States, and during the week of June 12-18, it becomes an international event known as Men’s Health Week."

Men are slightly more likely to smoke than women, and the amount of men who smoke ranges across generations: the majority of male smokers are between the ages of 18 and 64. If that includes you or someone you know and love, keep reading.

You may be surprised to learn just how much of an impact smoking has on your oral health. Smoking has been conclusively linked to:

  • Tooth loss - Smoking harms gum tissue cells and promotes bone loss in the jaw. Together, these effects result in a greater propensity for tooth loss among smokers.
  • Tooth decay - Chewing tobacco users are four times more likely than nonusers to develop tooth decay, in part due to the sugars used to flavor it and in part due to the sand and grit it contains, which physically wears down tooth enamel.
  • Gum disease - Smoking interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells, making smokers more susceptible to infections, and impairing blood flow to the gums, which may affect wound healing.
  • Oral (mouth) cancer - About 90 percent of people with cancer of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat use tobacco, and the risk of developing these cancers increases with the amount smoked or chewed and the duration of the habit.
  • Pharyngeal (throat) cancer - Smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop these cancers, and about 37 percent of patients who persist in smoking after apparent cure of their cancer will develop second cancers of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat, compared with only 6 percent of those who stop smoking.
  • Heightened tooth sensitivity - With receding gums and increased bacterial attack (due to greater buildup of plaque), smokers’ tooth enamel is more porous, which leads to greater sensitivity to heat and cold as well as certain ingredients.
  • Diminished sense of taste - Smoking deadens the taste buds and other sensory organs along the tongue, palate and throat, as well as the sinuses and nasal passages, all of which contribute to the sense of taste.
  • Tooth discoloration - Nicotine stains the surfaces it touches. Depending on the volume of smoke and how it’s administered, tooth discoloration can range from mild yellowing to darkening of the enamel.

Across the board, men are at greater risk for oral issues than women

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As highlighted by a number of different findings analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), when it comes to oral health concerns, men are consistently at greater risk than women are.

  • Men are 3x more likely to die from oral/pharyngeal cancers than women are.
  • 47.2 percent of U.S. adults have some form of periodontal disease. In adults aged 65 and older, 70.1 percent have periodontal disease. 76 percent of those with periodontal disease have lost at least one tooth as a result. Periodontal Disease occurrence is slightly higher in men than women.
  • An estimated 27 percent of adults aged 25-44 have at least one untreated dental caries (cavity) at any given time. Of that group, over 60 percent are male.

The lesson is clear: if you’re a male, you may be facing several disadvantages when it comes to maintaining excellent oral health. As we move through International Men’s Health Week and the rest of National Men’s Health Month, take the opportunity to step up your oral health game while you can! If it’s time to make your next dental appointment, and cost is getting in the way of scheduling the visit, find out how you can save 20% to 50% off of your dental services easily with a dental discount card.

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