Turns out having two X chromosomes may yield better oral health.
Women are more proactive than men in maintaining their teeth and gums, according to new research published in the April Journal of Periodontology. Women are almost twice as likely to have received regular dental checkups in the past year, scheduled the recommended treatment following those checkups; and 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.
Women also have a better understanding about what good oral health entails along with a more positive attitude toward visiting the dentist, the study states.
The study included more than 800 people between the ages of 18 and 19. They were asked to complete a written questionnaire concerning lifestyle, dental knowledge, dental attitude and oral health behaviors. Participants also underwent an oral exam to determine whether they had any indicators of periodontal disease.
According to the American Dental Association, periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. Your gum tissue is not attached to the teeth as high as it may seem. There is a very shallow v-shaped crevice called a sulcus between the tooth and gums.
Periodontal diseases attack just below the gum line in the sulcus, where they cause the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket: generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth of the pocket.
It’s possible to have periodontal disease and have no warning signs. It’s one reason why regular checkups and periodontal exams are so important.
Risk factors include tobacco smoking or chewing; systemic diseases such as diabetes; various medications such as steroids, cancer therapy drugs and oral contraceptives; bridges that no longer fit properly; crooked teeth; fillings that have become defective; and pregnancy, according to the ADA.
The ADA says warning signs include gums that bleed easily; red, swollen or tender gums; gums that have pulled away from the teeth; persistent bad breath or bad taste; permanent teeth that are loose or separating; changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite; or any change in the fit of partial dentures.
For more information on periodontal disease, visit www.ada.org/3063.aspx.© American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.