Helping Men Get Healthier
In dental school we were taught that men look at dentistry on a mechanical level, and women look at it on a more emotional/psychological level. I think this was based on older studies. But in reality this does an injustice to both sexes. Dentistry and oral health need to be approached on a level that encompasses mind, body, and spirit. Men may be motivated by different factors, but the goal is the same – good health.
Why Does Oral Health Matter?
As we age, the physical and chemical components of our bodies change. Oral health is many times not only a good indicator of total body health, it may be also throw up warning signs of serious medical conditions. Dry mouth may be an indication of diabetes or some autoimmune disease. Eroded teeth can be the result of gastrointestinal issues such as GERD or acid reflux. Poor Periodontal (gum tissue) health is a risk factor for Cardiovascular Disease. A poor bite can lead to jaw joint pain, headaches, neck aches, and facial muscle soreness. Many times I can look inside a patient’s mouth and have a pretty good indication that they have sleep apnea. That is silent killer of men that can be prevented with proper diagnosis and treatment. Some studies have implicated old mercury amalgam fillings with neurological disorders.
I believe the best thing a male (or anyone for that matter) can do for themselves is to find a dentist that looks beyond the teeth and the gums. Someone who will look and analyze how the teeth, gums, bones, muscles, airway, joints, function, and aesthetics not only relate to each other, but how they work together. And then look at how all this relates to total health and how the oral health is affecting the body and visa versa.
Good health is not about patching, fixing one thing and neglecting another. It is about integrating oral health into total body health, and to bring balance into the system. So no matter at what level you look at this, or what prompts you to act, the main thing is taking action to help you live a healthier, longer, pain free life.