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Men: 6 tips to improve your oral health

Men are less likely to take care of their oral health than women, according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). However, skipping on your dental care can have some pretty nasty consequences.

Some surveys show the average man will lose about five teeth before turning 75 and that some men can sometimes neglect oral health for years. Luckily, George Koumaras, DDS, the national dental director for Anthem, has six ways for men (and women) to keep your mouth in tip-top shape.

Brush twice, floss once

It's important to brush your teeth two times per day for two minutes and floss at least once per day. Creating a daily oral health routine doesn’t lake long, but over time frequent brushing and flossing can make a big difference, according to Dr. Koumaras.

Use fluoride

Fluoride helps prevent cavities and can be found in everything from toothpastes to mouthwashes. When buying a new oral healthcare product, fluoride will often be mentioned on the ingredient list.

Why fluoride? The substance helps keep teeth strong in the following ways:

  • Preventing the loss of healthy minerals
  • Repairing minor tooth decay caused by plaque
  • Reducing the ability of oral bacteria to produce acid

Wear a mouthguard

Men who play sports have a greater chance of experiencing mouth or tooth trauma, so it’s important to wear a mouthguard and helmet as appropriate. Mouthguards should be worn when playing contact sports such as baseball, basketball, football, and soccer, as well as for some individual activities, like riding a motorcycle, bike, or horse.

Stop smoking

When you smoke or use smokeless tobacco, you put yourself at an increased risk of developing oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth decay. Plus, smoking contributes to bad breath and stains teeth.

Be aware of medication side effects

Some medications, including those for heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression, might cause dry mouth, a condition that increases the risk for cavities. Fortunately, you can combat dry mouth with simple activities, including the following:

  • Drinking more water
  • Chewing sugarless gum
  • Using alcohol-free mouth rinse
  • Avoiding overly salty foods, alcohol, and carbonated beverages

Visit the Dentist

Last but not least -- remember to come in for checkups at least twice a year. Regular dental visits help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, which keeps your whole body healthy.

Also, don’t be surprised if the dentist asks you to come in more frequently. Sometimes people need more frequent visits because of their health history and current oral health status.

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