Men: Looking for a better job? Start by visiting the dentist

Men: Looking for a better job? Start by visiting the dentist


A new online poll of 289 general dentists and consumers confirms the traditional stereotype that men are less likely than their female counterparts to visit the dentist, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

Why? Nearly 45 percent of respondents felt that men don’t see a need to go to the dentist, and about 30 percent of those polled reported that men may not visit the dentist because they are afraid or embarrassed to go. Almost 18 percent revealed that men just don’t have the time for a dental visit, and about 5 percent felt that men don’t even have a regular dentist.

This long-standing trend and excuse, however, may be disappearing as more men are climbing back into the dental chair—for a surprising reason.

“In my practice, more men are coming in and requesting bleaching, veneers and bonding,” says J. Nick Russo, Sr., DDS, FAGD, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry. “Many have noticed the positive effects from a colleague’s improved smile and realize that a great smile has a lot of value in the business world.”

Dr. Russo also points to the fact that not long ago, most men worked for one or two employers throughout the lifetime, and many did not think about the way their overall appearance affected their professional life.

“That’s not the reality today with layoffs and company closings across the board,” says Dr. Russo. “Middle-aged men are now competing for jobs with younger men, making appearance a heightened factor in their lives.”

Taking a back seat to new cosmetic concerns for men is the increased awareness of the overall health benefits of seeing a dentist bi-annually.

The Surgeon General’s Report on Health, released in 2000, highlighted the link between oral and overall health. Subsequent media attention has helped to educate consumers that overall health starts in the mouth.

Dr. Russo says, “Many times after men ‘come back’ to the dentist, they realize that proper maintenance and bi-annual checkups are the key to improving the way one looks and feels.”

Top Tips for Men to Visit their Dentist:

l Detection of Periodontal Disease

A recent survey found that 34 percent of males ages 30 to 54 and 56 percent of males ages 55 to 90 have periodontitis—a much larger number than females. Characterized by bleeding gums, stained teeth and shifting teeth and gums, periodontal disease has been linked to heart and kidney diseases.

l Detection of Oral Cancer

Men are affected twice as often as women by oral cancer, and each year an estimated 7,800 people die from oral cancer. Characterized by white or discolored lesions in the oral cavity called leukoplakia, a routine dental exam is the best line of defense for early detection.

l Detection of Dry Mouth

Since men are more likely to suffer from heart attacks, they also are more likely to be on medications that can cause dry mouth. If you take medication for the heart or blood pressure, or if you take anti-depressants, your salivary flow could be inhibited, increasing the risk for dental caries and causing difficulty in tasting, chewing and swallowing. A dentist can diagnose this condition and prescribe treatment.

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