Gum disease and men – the surprising health implications

According to research, men are at a higher risk (26.8%) of developing periodontal disease than women (19.0%). It’s unclear why, but it could partly be due to the fact that men are more likely to ignore indicators, like plaque build-up, bleeding and tartar. Also, it’s thought that men are less likely to visit their dental health practitioner on a regular basis.

Dental care is important for everyone. A daily regimen of brushing, flossing and regular check-ups can prevent gum disease and related periodontal problems.

But for men, there are a variety of specific health factors that are related to poor dental health.

Heart disease

Scientists have found that there is a close link between cardiovascular and periodontal disease. Men are already more likely to develop heart disease than women, but gum disease and cardiovascular disease are both the result of chronic inflammation. Extensive research shows that this association puts men more at risk, so maintaining periodontal health is a way to help decrease the risk.

Impotence

Once again, inflammation is the common factor linking impotence and periodontal disease. Men most at risk are those less than 30 years or age, or over 70. Researchers have found that ongoing chronic inflammation can harm healthy blood vessels, which can cause impotence. Another good reason to keep up a healthy dental care routine.

Prostate health

PSA, or prostate-specific-antigen is an enzyme found in the prostate, usually in small amounts. But when the prostate shows signs of imflammation, PSA levels rise, and this can be an indicator of prostate cancer. Scientists have discovered that men with periodontal disease (swollen, bleeding or tender gums) together with an inflamed prostate (prostatitis) show higher levels of PSA.

Cancer

According to scientific studies, a history of periodontal disease in men means they are more likely to develop some form of cancer than those with good dental health. In Australia, smoking is a huge risk factor in developing periodontal disease like tooth loss, extreme tooth sensitivity and tartar build-up. 57% of oral cancers in men are a direct result of smoking.

There are some direct links between periodontal health and certain diseases in men, so good dental health practices are even more vital. Professional dental treatment and regular cleaning can help prevent these diseases.

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