Thursday, May 26, 2011

Women Doing Better Than Men in Periodontal Health?

Apparently so.
The differences between men and women are extensive, especially when it comes to taking care of one’s health. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), compared to men, women are better about seeing their physician for routine check-ups and are more likely to schedule a doctor visit when feeling sick or injured. And now, new research published in the Journal of Periodontology reveals another area where women are more proactive than men: in maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

According to the study published in April 2011, women are almost twice as likely to have received a regular dental check-up in the past year. In addition, women were more likely to schedule the recommended treatment following the dental check-up. Women in the study also had better indicators of periodontal health, including lower incidence of dental plaque, calculus and bleeding on probing; all of which can be used as markers of periodontal disease.

The study also suggested that women have a better understanding of what oral health entails, as well as a more positive attitude towards dental visits.

The study included over 800 participants between the ages of 18 and 19. Participants were asked to complete a written questionnaire concerning lifestyle, dental knowledge, dental attitude and oral health behaviors. In addition, the participants underwent an oral examination to assess for indicators of periodontal disease.
Here is the abstract of the most recent study.

2011, Vol. 82, No. 4, Pages 558-565, DOI 10.1902/jop.2010.10044 (doi:10.1902/jop.2010.100444)

Sex Differences in Gingivitis Relate to Interaction of Oral Health Behaviors in Young People
Michiko Furuta,* Daisuke Ekuni,* Koichiro Irie,* Tetsuji Azuma,* Takaaki Tomofuji,* Toshio Ogura, and Manabu Morita*
*Department  of Preventive Dentistry, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama, Japan. †Health Service Center, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan.
Dr. Daisuke Ekuni, Department of Preventive Dentistry, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama, 2-5-1 Shikata-cho, Kita-ku, Okayama 700-8558, Japan. Fax: 81-86-235-6714; e-mail address: .
Although many epidemiologic surveys have shown that gingivitis is more prevalent in males than in females, few studies have clearly explained what causes this difference. The objective of the present study is to explain the sex difference in gingivitis based on the interaction between oral health behaviors and related factors, such as knowledge, attitude, and lifestyle, in young people.
Methods: The study was comprised of 838 subjects (440 males and 398 females), aged 18
and 19 years. Gingivitis was assessed by the percentage of bleeding on probing (%BOP). Additional information was collected regarding oral hygiene status, oral health behaviors, and related factors. Structural equation modeling was used to test pathways from these factors to %BOP.
Multiple-group modeling was also conducted to test for sex differences.
Results:  Females had greater knowledge, a more positive attitude, a healthier lifestyle, and higher level of oral health behaviors than males. There were significant differences in the paths (i.e., from lifestyle, knowledge, and attitude to %BOP) through oral health behaviors and oral
health status.
Conclusions: Sex-based differences in gingivitis in young people can be explained by oral
health behaviors and hygiene status, which are influenced by lifestyle, knowledge, and attitude. To prevent gingivitis, different approaches to males and females may be useful.
I would probably agree with this from what I have seen clinically. But, I think the case can be made for better oral health education for all Americans. There are way too many folks who lose all of their teeth or most of them throughout their lifetimes.

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