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 to visit the dentist than their female counterparts, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education.
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 a lifetime and many did not think about the way their overall appearance affected their professional life.
“That’s not the reality today with lay-offs and company closings across the board” says Dr. Russo. “The reality is today middle-aged men are 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.
“As a dentist, I want men to come see me because they’re concerned about their health, however I’m glad to see them for whatever reason they come in,” says Dr. Russo. “Many times after men ‘come back’ to the dentist they realize that proper maintenance and bi-annual check-ups are the key to improving the way one looks and feels.”
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 mobile teeth and gums, periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease.
Detection of Oral Cancer – Men are affected twice as often as women by oral cancer and each year more than 8,000 people die from oral cancer. Characterized by white or discolored lesions in the oral cavity called leukoplakia, a routine dental exam is your best line of defense for early detection.