Oral Health Care and Microbiome

Photo credit: Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

By Lawrence Jones II, Ph.D.

The mouth is a doorway to our health evaluation. A dentist can look into a person's mouth with the latest dental equipment to view the entire oral cavity and check for oral cancer and gum and tooth diseases. Finding a good dentist that you feel comfortable with is very important. General dentist practitioners and dental specialists such as pediatric (child) dentists, periodontists (gums, bone structure), orthodontists (prevention and teeth alignment), endodontists (inside of the tooth nerve), oral surgeons (surgery in the mouth), can diagnose and catch certain conditions before they get too far along in damage. Although the American culture has recently focused on white and straight teeth, that is not the only reason to see a dentist. Catching and diagnosing certain dental conditions can lead to more favorable outcomes.

Coleman (June 18, 2018) reports that "men tend to neglect their teeth more than women" and that parents can encourage good oral health in young boys to establish healthy habits early on. She also states that "regular brushing, dental exams, and a diet focused on cavity prevention can help reduce gum disease and tooth loss in men." Gum disease is directly related to heart issues. It can spread to other body parts if not detected or treated in time. GQ (September 14, 2018) "According to a survey from the Academy of General Dentistry, American women are more likely to get preventative dental care than men, and according to a different study from the Journal of Periodontology said men were less likely to brush regularly and do things like schedule regular dental checkups.

Men are also more likely to lose teeth as they age and develop oral and throat cancer and gum disease." In addition, some men reportedly don't brush for days at a time. Coleman (2018) points out that "the University of Illinois at Chicago says that on average, men brush their teeth just 1.9 times a day which is below what is needed. The American Dental Association suggests brushing at least twice daily with a soft-bristled brush and replacing toothbrushes every three to four months. It's a good idea for parents to encourage their kids to brush at least twice daily—in the morning and before bed. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends caregivers supervise (or help with) kids' brushing techniques until they are eight years old.

A historical note: ADA (February 24, 2020) "Dr. Robert Tanner Freeman, Washington, D.C. native and son of formerly enslaved people, developed an interest in dentistry after working for mentor Dr. Henry Bliss Noble. After being rejected from two dental schools because of his skin color, Dr. Freeman enrolled at Harvard University's School of Dentistry as a part of their inaugural class. He graduated in 1869, becoming the nation's first African American dentist. Upon graduation, Robert opened his practice in his hometown of Washington, D.C., until his death four years later in 1873."

The Narrative Matters.


ADA (February 24, 2020). https://www.ada.org/publications/new-dentist-news/2020/february/celebrating-black-history-month-trailblazers-in-dentistry#.YqvqCHKKCLo.link

ADNWI. June 2022. Why Aren’t Men Brushing Their Teeth? Why Aren’t Men Brushing Their Teeth? | Associated Dentists of Northwest Indiana (adnwi.com)

Coleman, E. (June 18, 2018). Men's Oral Health: 5 Tips for Maintaining a Beautiful Smile. Men's Oral Health: 5 Tips for Maintaining a Beautiful Smile | United Concordia

Copeland, N. (January 5, 2021). What Causes A Black Spot On Gums? (brilliantoralcare.com)

Gental Dental (June 2022). Why Oral Health is Essential for Overall Health | Gentle Dental (interdent.com)

GQ (September 14, 2018). Men, Please Brush Your Teeth. Men, Please Brush Your Teeth | GQ

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