June is Oral Health Month. However, it is also Men’s Health Month. So this month, we want to shine a spotlight on men and their oral health. Men are 17% more likely to get cancer than women. Men are also 50% more likely to have hearing loss as well as die of heart disease than women. And yet, men are 50% less likely to seek preventive care. So, we want to highlight a couple of men’s health-related issues.
GUM DISEASE AND MEN
Periodontal health for men is extremely important as it may impact a variety of other health factors. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, “Research has found that periodontal disease is higher in men (56.4 percent) than in women (38.4 percent). This may be because men are less likely to go to the dentist or because men have worse indicators of periodontal health than women, including a higher incidence of dental plaque, tartar, and bleeding on probing. However, periodontal health for men is extremely important as it may impact a variety of other health factors.”
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is an enzyme created in the prostate normally secreted in very small amounts. However, when the prostate becomes inflamed, infected, or affected by cancer, PSA levels rise. Research has shown that men with indicators of periodontal disease such as red, swollen, or tender gums as well as prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) have higher levels of PSA than men with only one of the conditions. This means that prostate health may be associated with periodontal health and vice versa.
Research indicates that periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease are associated; having periodontal disease may increase cardiovascular disease risk. Both diseases are chronic inflammatory conditions, and researchers believe that inflammation is the connection between gum disease and heart disease. Since men are already more likely to develop heart disease than women, maintaining periodontal health is another way to reduce this risk.
Research has found that men with a history of gum disease are 14 percent more likely to develop cancer than men with healthy gums. Specifically, men with periodontal disease may be 49 percent more likely than women to develop kidney cancer, 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30 percent more likely to develop blood cancers.