Although dentists focus on oral health, which is largely ignored by doctors, our oral and overall health are closely interrelated. We know, for example, that poor oral health can lead to heart problems. We also know that diabetes can dramatically impact your risk of gum disease.
Now a new study shows that the impact of diabetes on oral health may also be impacted by gender, with men suffering a significantly higher risk. To address this, researchers suggest gender-specific strategies to help men take better care of their oral health.
Nationwide Studies of Gum Disease
This new study is based on an analysis of many years of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES). This national study attempts to gauge the overall health of people in the US, and it includes periodontal exams as well as blood testing for diabetes.
In this study, researchers found that, overall, the rate of moderate to severe periodontitis (gum disease) was 22.71%, but for people with diabetes, the rate was 36.39%. However, for women, the difference wasn’t statistically significant. But it was for men. After accounting for various factors, researchers found that men were about 1.5 times more likely to have gum disease if they had diabetes. Researchers proposed that the difference was likely related to differences in oral hygiene routines. Researchers suggest that women were more likely to follow the advice of their dentist, while men were more likely to avoid this advice and let their oral health lapse.
Men’s Oral Hygiene Lapses
Although their study has limitations, researchers are likely correct about the link between gender, oral hygiene, and oral health.
Previous studies have shown that men do tend to brush less than women. Less than 50% of men brush their teeth twice a day, compared to about 60% of women. But even more significant is the difference in flossing: 39% of men say they never floss, compared to 27% of women.
With these lapses in oral hygiene, it is not surprising that we see a greater gum disease rate related to diabetes.
Men Need to Take Oral Health Seriously
Researchers don’t propose what gender-specific strategies would be best in helping men to do more for their oral health. However, it is critical that they take their health seriously because they may suffer significant consequences if they don’t.
After all, heart disease is the leading cause of death among men. Since gum disease increases the risk of heart disease, taking better care of their oral health can help men live longer. Taking care of Oral Health could also help men remain healthier because gum disease can undermine an exercise regimen.
And gum disease can undermine a man’s quality of life. Poor oral health can make life less enjoyable. It can also impact a man’s relationships, making it harder to meet someone and harder to enjoy life with someone special.
We Can Help You Maintain Oral Health
Summerlin cosmetic dentist Dr. James B. Polley is dedicated to helping all his patients achieve and maintain good oral health, including men and women.
If you are looking for a quality dentist to partner with you, please call (702) 873-0324 today for an appointment at the office of Dr. Polley in Summerlin.