Dentists: Men, brush your teeth (and floss)

Fewer than 50 percent of men brush their teeth twice a day, according to Delta Dental of Washington.

Men are also less likely to seek preventive care from a dentist until a problem is too painful – and likely too far advanced.

Those two things, according to Delta Dental, can lead to a variety of dental-related issues and health concerns men may not typically associate with oral health.

For Men’s Health Month this June, Delta Dental is spreading the word about those concerns and sharing these stats:

-Thirty-four percent of men 30 to 54 years old have gum disease, which increases a man’s risk of kidney cancer (49 percent), pancreatic cancer (54 percent) and blood cancers (30 percent).

-Gum disease is seven times more common in men with erectile dysfunction.

-The average man will lose 5.4 teeth by age 72. For smokers, that number increases to 12.

-Plaque on the teeth allows bacteria to easily access the bloodstream, triggering inflammation in the arteries. That’s a risk for those predisposed to heart disease – the cause of one in every four male deaths in the U.S.

“Periodontal disease is a chronic, inflammatory infection characterized by the destruction of bone that supports your teeth,” said Dr. Kyle Dosch, dental director for Delta Dental, in a news release. “Current research suggests chronic inflammation in the mouth may link periodontal disease with an increased risk for developing a variety of systemic health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and impotence.”

Here are some (super obvious) tips from Delta Dental for improving oral health:

-Brush for two minutes at least twice a day.

-Floss. Not flossing leaves 40 percent of your tooth surface unclean.

-Go to the dentist regularly.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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