Men, it’s time to look after your health – Julie Deverick BSDHTFeatured Products Promotional Features
Posted by: The Probe 28th May 2019
You would think that gender would not make a significant difference, but did you know that men are far less likely to seek medical attention than women? Data collected has revealed that males are far less likely to book hospital appointments, meaning that they are putting themselves at increased risk of general health conditions.[i]
Men were 32% less likely to arrange seeing their doctor, and it was even noted that they were less likely to consult when in need of recurring care, such as for prescription of anti-depressants or heart medicine, indicating a problem that needs to be addressed.
Data collected for dental care tells a similar story. According to some sources, a third of men only visit the dentist once every five years, and 62% of males also only attend if they have dental pain or some other problem that needs to be sorted right away.[ii]
So why are men so bad at seeking medical attention? There are a variety of factors that may be the cause, but one pervading argument is that they have the attitude of “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it”. The common assumption seems to be that if you have no symptoms it’s unlikely that something is wrong, but there are plenty of medical conditions affecting men that can be completely symptomless.
Furthermore, as we all know, the signs of dental diseases and decay may not necessarily be noticeable, and by not visiting the dentist regularly, it is highly possible for male patients to develop much more serious conditions such as periodontitis if something simple like gingivitis isn’t nipped in the bud.
Another reason may be that admitting they are unwell or need treatment is, in someway, considered a sign of weakness. Society has long painted a picture of men being strong and unlikely to be burdened by illness, and it is this image that has led to many men believing that they can “soldier through” illnesses and complaints without seeking treatment.
So how can we encourage male patients to attend the dental practice? It may be as simple as hosting a male only open day, or even coming up with some special offers to inspire them to visit.
Education is also an important step, and it is a good idea to speak to male patients and remind them that they need to attend regularly, especially as so many oral health problems can worsen quickly if left untreated.
Men’s Health Week takes place on the 15th– 21stJune this year, so why not base some events around this awareness week to help encourage more men to look after their health? Perhaps you can organise a talk about oral health at the local gym or any other establishment that has a high percentage of male clientele? Whatever you decide to do, it’s important to make sure that men are hearing, and understanding, that their health should come first.
The image painted that illness is weakness, is an attitude that needs to change. By opening doors to more male patients and warning them about the importance of regular health check ups, you can do your part in ensuring that men can improve and maintain their health.
For more information about the BSDHT, please visit www.bsdht.org.uk
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[i]Wang, Y., Hunt, K., Nazareth, I., Freemantle, N., Peteresen, I. Do Men Consult Less Than Women? An analysis of Routinely Collected UK General Practice Data. BMJ Open 2013;3:e003320. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003320
[ii]Express. Hell’s Teeth! A Third of Men only Visit Dentist Once Every Five Years. Link: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/625472/Teeth-third-men-visit-dentist-5-years-health[Last accessed March 19].
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