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Helping Dad enjoy better dental health

Your dad takes care of things at home, but does he take care of himself? According to the Academy of General Dentistry, men are less likely to pay attention to their health, and that includes their teeth. In honor of Father’s Day, here is some advice for helping him—or any other man in your life—enjoy a healthier smile.

1. Get him to the dentist: Would it surprise you to learn that men are more likely than women to see a dentist only when something goes wrong? As you probably know, preventive care visits are important for maintaining good oral health, and can make sure that nothing goes wrong in the first place.

2. Encourage him to brush: The average man brushes his teeth 1.9 times a day—less frequently than recommended. If your dad has been known to cut corners, you might want to give him a gentle reminder to make brushing (and flossing) a habit.

3. Watch out for snoring: Can you hear Dad’s naps from a mile away? He might be suffering from sleep apnea, a condition where the airway narrows or collapses during sleep. This can cause problems ranging from daytime sleepiness to increased risk of heart disease and stroke. An oral appliance can cut down on loud snoring, as well as help prevent other problems. For more about sleep apnea treatment, click here.

4. Mind the grind: Another common sleep-related problem, bruxism refers to involuntary clenching and grinding, which can cause cracks, damage, and wear to the teeth. Most people are not aware they are doing it until a dentist notices the evidence. If Dad suffers from bruxism, a simple fix exists. A custom mouthguard worn during sleep effectively protects teeth from the damage. Read more about it here.

5. Safety during sports: If Dad likes to play contact sports such as soccer or football, or if he rides a motorcycle, his teeth have a greater potential for trauma. Wearing a mouthguard can help protect him from errant balls, and his motorcycle helmet should also have some sort of mouth protection.

6. Tools belong in the toolbox: A major cause of tooth damage or fracture is using teeth as tools. While it may be tempting for Dad to open bottles or other items with his teeth, he should be reaching for a real tool instead.