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Debunking myths about men’s attitudes toward dentistry

June 11, 2024
Let's challenge the stereotype that women care more about their oral health than men.
David R. Rice, DDS, Chief editor

In case you didn't know, June is Men's Health Month, which raises the question: Do men care less about their oral health than women?

Sometimes, I need more encouragement to focus on my health than my better half, Anastasia—that I can accept.

What I can't accept is the notion that dental professionals can't offer support and guidance for adult male patients like me.

What matters most

At its core, case acceptance is rarely about what we, as dental professionals, tend to lean on. Instead, it's about our patients' individual values and our ability to amend them with what we know best: how to improve their oral health.

Unfortunately, most patients tune us out the moment they hear us calling out teeth numbers and other technical terms. The rest stop listening the moment that perio probe starts poking around in their mouths. As dentists, we need to build a trusting relationship with them over time, knowing exactly what our patients want and why they want it.

Now, there are generalizations and unifiers when it comes to our male patients that transcend age—and case acceptance isn't as black and white as someone's sex. Things like past experiences, dental IQ, and behavioral styles all play a part in a patient's relationship with their dentist

Let's dig deeper with and compare the oral health routines of young and older men. We may have an opportunity to make a big difference.

Young male patients

Google what worries young men in their 20's and 30's and you'll get quite an extensive list. In fact, here's an easy read by Men's Health to get you started. Some of it will surprise you, but most of it will make perfect sense. In my video below, I'll give you a sneak peek at the above list and how to use it to increase case acceptance.

Seasoned male patients

So how about our seasoned male patients? What's most important to them? Of course, the fastest and most accurate way to know is to use my favorite three letter word: ASK. In general, though, what might drive them to seek better care based on their age?

If money, appearance, time, trust, comfort, and health are six key motivators when it comes to our patients saying "yes", health is a major factor for our seasoned male patients. But why?

If you're a reader, carry on. If you prefer a faster video answer, watch below.

OK, readers, this will make perfect sense. Health!

In sum, these older patients want to see their children and grandchildren grow up. They want to watch them go to prom, graduate high school and college, get married, and maybe even have kids of their own. Health is a positive motivator because without it, longevity wouldn't be possible. Dentists (myself included) can challenge the notion that female patients inherently seek our help more - and we can do this within the four walls of our practice.

This month, I challenge you to think about today's lessons and pay special attention to your male patients. Then, when you see the impact, I challenge you to continue learning and continue making a difference. Roughly 75% of case acceptance is about having the right people and the right process. Dental practitioners, you can do this!

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About the Author

David R. Rice, DDS | Chief editor

Founder of the nation’s largest student and new-dentist community, igniteDDS, David R. Rice, DDS, travels the world speaking, writing, and connecting today’s top young dentists with tomorrow’s most successful dental practices. He is the editorial director of DentistryIQ and leads a team-centered restorative and implant practice in East Amherst, New York. With 27 years of practice in the books, Dr. Rice is trained at the Pankey Institute, the Dawson Academy, Spear Education, and most prolifically at the school of hard knocks. Contact him at [email protected].