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Smoking and Oral Health: Does It Affect Men More Often?

According to America’s Health Rankings, at least 14% of the population in Minnesota smokes. Although the state doesn’t belong to the top places with the most number of smokers, puffing cigarettes can cause undue damage to health. It is specifically harmful to dental health.

However, many also believe that men are more likely to light a cig than their female counterparts. Does this mean they are also the gender more prone to dental issues? The answer is yes, but there’s a glimmer of hope.

Why Men—and Women—Smoke

Ever since 5000 BC, people, especially in the Americas, smoke. Through the years, too, different topics about it have become a source of contention. These include gender: are males more likely to smoke than women?

The CDC believes so. About 15 for every 100 males or around 15% like to light a cigarette. The World Health Organization, meanwhile, shared that around 40% of men around the globe smoke. World Bank said that men are five times more likely to puff a stick than women.

This isn’t to say that women don’t smoke. The CDC cited that about 13% of adult women also maintain the same habit. The difference in percentage between genders isn’t that big.

Smoking may also affect men and women similarly. Both are susceptible to dental health problems, infertility, and alterations in the brain. But the way these genders derive satisfaction from nicotine may vary.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the toxic substance in conventional cigarettes seemed to activate the rewards pathway of the brain for the men.

Contrary to popular belief too, women are not the only ones who smoke to manage stress. Men do too, based on a 1999 study.

The research that involved 35 men and 25 women revealed that males might also light a cigarette to manage their emotions, especially anger, sadness, and anxiety. In fact, the male group presented a stronger link between the urge to smoke and feelings of fatigue and sadness.

Men, Smoking, and Dental Health

dentist and patient looking at xray

Because cigarettes and smoke are in direct contact with the oral cavity, damage can be more significant and even visible in these body parts. Smokers usually suffer from yellowing of the teeth and bad breath.

The harmful contents can destroy the gums and the nerves severely, leading to tooth loss. As teeth fall out or become damaged, chewing and speech problems may occur.

Therefore, smokers, particularly in states in Minnesota, can benefit from poor frequent visits with family dental care. The problem is males are less likely to do so.

In one study involving 5,000 people, around 70% of the women visited their dentist once a year, while only 60% of men did it. Why?

In one research, less than 50% of males didn’t find any value in a dental visit. Around 30% felt ashamed to share their oral health issues with their healthcare provider. Nearly 20% wanted to but didn’t have the time.

Men are already susceptible to dental health problems because of their high rate of smoking. But skipping on the dentist makes the problem worse. This is especially since dentists can also help their smoking patients to quit the habit.

Hope is not lost, though. The WHO revealed in 2019 that the number of men who used tobacco fell significantly for the first time. Even if males who smoked went up to 1.093 billion from 2000 to 2018, the rate since then slowed down.

Some dentists also claimed that more men are dropping by the clinic, perhaps because of workplace culture. They realized the importance of looking the part if they wish to succeed.

But men may need to exert more effort if they don’t want to aggravate oral health problems. A visit to the dentist may be the first step to healing and smoking cessation.


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