Whether you love them or hate them, beards are a fashion statement that never seem to go out of style.
Although beards seem to be the gift that keeps on giving, what implications do they have for someone’s mouth? Does having a beard affect your oral health? The answer may surprise you!
Anatomy of a beard
A beard, as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “the hair that grows on a man’s face often excluding the mustache.” A beard can be of varying lengths, from a five o’clock shadow to over 17 feet long (although most beards are much shorter)!
Check out some fun facts about beards:
- 73 percent of men think facial hair makes them more attractive.
- A full beard can take between two and four months to grow out.
- Beards can help protect the skin underneath from UV rays.
Misconceptions about beard cleanliness
One of the biggest misconceptions about beards is that they are dirty. Are beards really full of germs? The answer is – it depends.
An unkept beard can house pathogens, microbes, and other germs. However, clean beards may be slightly more hygienic than a clean-shaven face. According to a study from The Journal of Hospital Infection, “results suggest that male hospital workers with facial hair do not harbour more potentially concerning bacteria than clean-shaven workers, and that in some instances, clean-shaven individuals are significantly more likely to be colonized with potential nosocomial pathogens.”
To keep your beard clean, the American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends the following:
- Wash your face and beard with a gentle cleanser every day.
- Use circular motions to cleanse your face and beard.
- Moisturize every day to prevent dry, itchy skin.
- Keep up on grooming your beard by using a beard comb and trimming as needed.
Beards and oral health
Do beards affect oral health? The short answer is not really.
If a beard is not cleaned with soap on a regular basis, it may have an excess of germs and bacteria that are close to your mouth. While these germs can make you sick, the good news is that they’re not likely to cause oral health problems such as tooth decay or cavities. This is because the bacteria that is sometimes found in beards is not the same bacteria that can cause oral health problems.
Although beards are not known to cause dental problems, they can make it harder to see changes on and around the jawline. New lumps on the jawline can be an indication of something very serious, including oral health problems. An abscessed tooth or even oral cancer can cause swelling on the jawline. A full beard may make it hard to see these changes.
All in all, a clean beard will probably not affect your oral health. However, it’s important to keep up with good hygiene and stay vigilant about checking for new lumps underneath the beard.