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FYI - Partnering with you to create healthy smiles


Partnering with you to help create healthy smiles

Oral health and men’s health

June 10 through June 16 is Men’s Health Week, and the month of June is the perfect time to help your patients understand the link between oral health and their overall well-being. Many serious conditions can have oral symptoms or connections to dental disease. Let your patients know how they can protect themselves and take charge of their health.

The connection between heart disease and gum disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, roughly one in every four male deaths. While the specific link between oral health and heart disease isn’t clear, there’s a correlation: plaque buildup on the teeth may lead to bacteria entering the bloodstream and causing plaque buildup in arteries. The inflammation caused by serious gum disease may lead to overall inflammation in the body. You can help your patients reduce the risk of both gum and heart disease by encouraging them to brush and floss regularly, eat a healthy diet and avoid tobacco products.

Diabetes and oral health

An estimated 15% of American men have diabetes, whether diagnosed or not. Individuals with diabetes may have a higher incidence of tooth decay due to diminished salivary flow or higher numbers of oral bacteria that feed on sugar. Poorly managed blood sugar may also cause oral problems like gum recession. Patients with diabetes should strive to control their insulin levels, maintain good oral health to prevent mouth infections and keep healthy triglyceride and cholesterol levels to prevent gum disease.

Oral cancer risks

Men are nearly three times as likely as women to develop oral cancer, possibly due to lifestyle choices that increase risk, like tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. With more young people developing cancer than ever before, there’s never been a better time to screen patients for oral cancer.

Medication and dental considerations

Prescription drugs and over-the-counter supplements can have an impact on patients’ oral health without their knowledge. Many drugs, from allergy medicine to antidepressants to narcotic painkillers can cause dry mouth. Sweeteners in cough drops or chewable vitamins can contribute to cavities. Anti-seizure medication, immunosuppressants and calcium channel blockers can cause overgrowth of gum tissue. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories can cause mouth ulcers. Be sure to ask patients to share what’s in their medicine cabinet so you can advise them accordingly.