Men Need to Visit the Dentist More, Survey Finds

by MikeMeehan 6/14/2017 9:42 AM

Statistics show men need to visit the dentist more. There are some strong indicators that show we need to encourage our fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, and friends to take better care of their oral health. Recent noteworthy stats June is Men’s Health Month, and oral health is an important part of overall health. According to the 2017 Delta Dental Adult Oral Health and Well-Being Survey, men need to focus more on their oral health. Here are some of statistics from the recent survey: Only 63% of men visit the dentist at least once a year Only 69% of men brush their teeth the recommended twice a day 59% of men skip a brushing session at least once a month In the same survey, 69% of respondents noted that a smile is most important for a first impression whether at work, on a date, or other circumstances. It seems we all value a bright smile, and it’s a good reason to keep your oral health a priority. Periodontal disease, a specific concern Other studies have shown that men are more likely than women to develop periodontal (gum) disease. For example, 56.4% of men develop gum disease compared to 38.4% of women. Periodontal disease has been linked to cardiovascular disease and other health factors, so this is another alert to men. Watch for signs of gum disease such as swollen, red, tender or bleeding gums. There is another specific concern for men if they’re taking heart or blood pressure medication. These medications can cause a condition called dry mouth. With a lack of saliva, the risk of cavities increases. Some recommendations to combat dry mouth are increasing water intake, and avoiding salty foods, alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks. Some standard tips for oral health The choices and habits of some men can put them at a greater risk of oral health problems. Here are some standard dental health tips as a reminder, not just for men, for everyone: Brush twice a day and floss at least once a day – It’s essential to prevent gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath. Visit the dentist – During your visit, get screened for gum disease and oral cancer. Choose healthier foods – Choosing fruits and veggies instead of pretzels and chips will not only help your overall health, it will prevent cavities from those foods that are high in carbs and sugar. Don’t use your teeth as a tool – This is often the reason behind dental injuries. Use your hand and arm strength to open those bottles and bags. No more tobacco – Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause oral cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, oral cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women. Gum disease, lost teeth, stained teeth and bad breath are some other possible impacts of using tobacco and tobacco products. Use these examples when you encourage a person (like your dad) to quit. On Father’s Day this Sunday, check in with your dad and make sure he is visiting the dentist. A new electronic toothbrush with a supply of dental floss would be a useful and considerate gift. Most importantly, tell him you care about him. That alone could be enough motivation for him to visit the dentist and pay more attention to his oral health.

How Stress Can Harm You: From the perspective of your oral and vision health

by MikeMeehan 4/18/2017 1:31 PM

We talk about it, hear about it and complain about it. The phrase “I’m stressed out” has become so overused, we may even dismiss it. Despite the abundant information and worn out terms, the harm stress can cause is worthy of the overemphasis. So we are going to use the occasion of Stress Awareness Month to bring attention to the ways stress can affect your oral and vision health. You may associate stress with lack of sleep and feeling overwhelmed, but two common physical symptoms of stress are associated with your oral health — jaw pain or clenching and teeth grinding. Stress can also affect your vision temporarily. Stress and Oral Health Here are 4 ways stress can affect your mouth: Gum disease or periodontal disease is a bacterial infection caused by inflammation of the gums and surrounding tissue. Warning signs include red and swollen gums, gums that pull away from your teeth and persistent bad breath. When you are under stress, your ability to fight off infections (like gum disease) is affected. Bruxism is the technical term for the condition of grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw which can be caused by stress. Symptoms include headaches, tooth sensitivity and a sore jaw.  Canker sores are small ulcers in the mouth and may be caused by stress. The severity can vary. Also, if you chew on your tongue, cheeks or inside of your mouth, you could be susceptible to canker sores. Temporomandibular disorders, more easily referred to as TMD (or TMJ), are a range of conditions that affect the muscles and joints in your jaw and neck. Symptoms include jaw pain and soreness, clicking of the jaw and discomfort when you move your jaw up and down. Stress may cause or aggravate TMD.  Stress and Vision Health When you think about stress, you might not associate it with your eyes or vision. Here are some symptoms: Tunnel or blurry vision: Lose of peripheral vision and a slight blurriness can occur when your stress levels increase. Eye twitching: That annoying spasm occurring in your eye could be a sign of stress. Eye strain: Recently, we covered digital eye strain from prolonged time in front of a screen, but the stress occurring in your life can also cause eye strain and fatigue. Eye floaters: Spots and specks that float across your field of vision are not necessarily a cause for concern, but you may notice them during times of elevated stress. Solutions with a dental and vision focus While stress reduction methods like yoga, physical activity and breathing exercises have been abundantly endorsed, here are some recommendations specifically for your oral and vision health. From the perspective of your oral health, talk to your dentist if you have jaw pain or if you grind your teeth. You may not be aware that you grind your teeth at night, so a visit to the dentist could discover the problem and will prompt a discussion about possible treatments. During stressful situations, try to relax your face, neck and shoulders to avoid clenching your jaw. Avoid gum and tough foods that cause extra chewing and effort from your jaw. Practicing good oral hygiene and maintaining your regimen, even during the difficult times, will help prevent dental issues. Daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque buildup can help the fight against gum disease like gingivitis and periodontitis. And try not to turn to caffeine or sugar when you are feeling stressed. Both choices are detrimental to your oral health. From the perspective of vision health, if you continue to have some of these stress-related eye problems, be sure to visit your eye doctor. But since most stress-induced eye problems are temporary, find the most effective stress reducing tactics that work for you personally, and give yourself some time for the symptoms to subside and go away. Looking for more ways to alleviate stress, or more information on the ways stress affects your smile or eyes? You can find more articles like this on our website and more information from our oral health library.

From the Goodness of the Tooth: Could Your Mouth Put You at Risk for Heart Disease?

by MikeMeehan 2/23/2017 9:45 AM

February could be called the month of the heart. And the way we treat our mouths might affect the health of our hearts. If you’re looking to improve your health, you might want to start with these six habits.... more...

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