Tooth hurty!

Now, how good is your oral health on a scale of 1 to 10?

No, this isn’t a question for your exes. We’re talking about your teeth and gums, and it turns out men are way more likely to neglect their pearly whites than women.

Most guys understand the basics of oral health like brushing twice a day. You might even be one of those unicorns that flosses daily – Good for you, man! Whatever the case, many of our bad habits are more likely to lead to gum disease, cardiovascular disease, and even oral cancer, if we don’t tackle them head-on. Poor oral health can affect your quality of life, and can even impact the way a person speaks, eats, and socializes.

Men usually avoid going to the dentist, unless a big problem (like pain) shows up. This kind of “ignore it until it hurts” mentality is a reason why men are more predisposed to gum disease and cardiovascular disease. Oral health and heart disease are connected by the spread of bacteria – and other germs – from your mouth to other parts of your body through the bloodstream. When bacteria reach the heart, they can attach themselves to any damaged area and cause inflammation, which puts us at greater risk for heart attacks.

So if you want to avoid looking like Brett Burns in the third round of playoffs, check out our 4 tips to better oral health:

  1. Brushing 101 — Use a soft bristle brush or an electric toothbrush, and choose a toothpaste with fluoride. Oh, and try to floss more than never.
  2. Kick the bad habits — Cutting back on smoking, excessive alcohol use, and high-sugar foods can do wonders for your mouth.
  3. Know your risks — Men are more likely than women to develop periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. That’s when your gums are constantly inflamed due to plaque and tartar build-up. Early signs are seeing a bit of blood when you brush your teeth, but it’s always best to let the professionals do the diagnosing.
  4. Get checked – Go to the dentist for a check-up and cleaning at least once per year (and every six months if you have good insurance).