It looks like women are winning in the oral health category. A research study published in the Journal of Periodontology reveals that women are better overall in maintaining their oral health. They are almost twice as likely to visit the dentist during the year, and on following up on treatment needed. In addition, women fared better in the periodontal health category, having less dental plaque, calculus, and bleeding on dental probing, all of which can be early warning signs of periodontal disease.
In the study, over 800 participants between the age of 18-19 answered a detailed questionnaire about their dental knowledge and hygiene habits. They also had a dental examination to look for evidence of periodontal disease. Gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease, was assessed by how much bleeding occurred during periodontal probing. (Probing is a clinical procedure that allows your periodontist to estimate the structural status of the periodontal tissues by mechanically probing the gums).
The study revealed that women had greater knowledge about oral health, a more positive attitude, a healthier lifestyle, and a higher level of oral health behaviors than males. The study’s conclusion was that 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.
This should be of particular interest to men, since periodontal health for men may impact a variety of other health factors. Research has found that periodontal disease is higher in men (56.4 percent) than in women (38.4 percent).*
Why men (and those that love them) should be concerned:
- Recent research has shown that prostate health may be associated with periodontal health, and vice versa.
- Research indicates that periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease are associated; having periodontal disease may actually increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Men with periodontal disease, especially those younger than 30 or older than 70, are at increased risk of developing impotence, according to research.
- Research has found that men with a history of gum disease are 14 percent more likely to develop cancer than men with healthy gums.
Periodontal diseases are infections of the structures that surround the teeth. These structures include the gums, the cementum that covers the root, the periodontal ligament, and the alveolar bone. In the earliest stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis, the infection affects only the gums. In more severe forms of the disease, all of the supporting tissues are involved. Unfortunately, it’s possible to have periodontal disease, and not know it. It’s one reason why regular checkups and periodontal exams are important.
So fellas, it’s time to step up to the plate, and take your periodontal health seriously.