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Men’s Health Movember 2014

Have you noticed the number of new mustaches and beards emerging during November? It may be men supporting the Movember movement.

Men across the country are taking action by signing up and shaving down their face on November 1 and growing a mustache for the month, and it’s all in support of men’s health.

In the spirit of Movember, DentaQuest is bringing attention to ways men can support their own health by cultivating a healthy mouth.

Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are important for everyone. Surveys show that men often neglect their teeth and gums for years and are less likely than women to seek preventive care when they should. In fact, one of the most common factors associated with infrequent dental checkups is just being a guy.

Here are 6 ways men’s mouths can stay out of trouble this month:

1. Regular dental checkups
According to research published in the Journal of Periodontology, women are almost twice as likely as men to have had a regular dental checkup in the past year. Did you know that dental diseases (cavities and gum disease) are preventable?

2. Take care of your teeth and gums every day
According to the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Dental Association, the average man is less likely to brush his teeth twice a day (49% compared with 56.8% of women), and more likely to develop periodontal (gum) disease.

New research is showing that not taking care of gum disease may put you at greater risk for other chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Gum disease can be managed with daily brushing and flossing, and routine visits to a dental health professional. Men who develop gum disease may be advised to consult with a periodontist, the dentist specially trained in the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease for a treatment plan to manage the disease.

3. Monitor you cardiovascular health
Medications (for heart disease, blood pressure or antidepressants) can slow the flow of saliva, leading to dry mouth. Saliva is important; it helps clean bacteria and food particles from your teeth. Having a dry mouth increases your risk for cavities and gum disease. And, gum disease puts you at greater risk for complications of other diseases (see #2 above). Your dentist can help you with options for dry mouth.

4. Eliminate tobacco use
If you smoke or chew tobacco, you have a greater risk for periodontal disease and oral cancer (electronic cigarette use is just as dangerous for the mouth as regular cigarettes). Men are affected twice as often as women. The most frequent sites for oral cancer are the tongue, the floor of the mouth and soft palate (‘roof’ of the mouth).

You want to catch and treat any and all cancerous spots in the early stages. Today, dentists check your mouth for oral cancers at every dental visit. If you do use tobacco, watch for changes in your mouth and call your dentist or doctor if you see something that is out of the ordinary. Be sure to see your dentist regularly for oral cancer screenings.

5. Be cautious when participating in athletics

Serious athletes and weekend warriors who play contact sports like football, soccer and basketball have a greater potential for trauma to the mouth and teeth. If you ride bicycles or motorcycles, wear a helmet. Athletes AND weekend warriors should also be sure to use a mouth guard to protect their teeth from unnecessary mouth injuries. Your dentist can help you pick the best mouth guard for your lifestyle.

6. And, do this every day for a healthy smile:

  • Brush twice daily (for two minutes each time) using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Reach every surface of the tooth, even the ones way in the back, and gently clean between the teeth and the gums.
  • When the bristles on your brush are frayed, buy a new one (every 3 months).
  • Floss daily, it is much more important than you think.
  • Visit your dentist regularly.
  • Avoid opening things with your teeth.

This is all worth the effort. Good oral health has been linked with longevity, and life is better with teeth. Happy Movember!

Image via http://www.wehatecleaning.co.uk