Different sexes have different dental care needs. By sex, this article refers to genetics assigned by chromosomes to be either male or female and not gender, which is somewhat subjective and self-represented. For this article, only sex-based differences and their effect on oral health, hygiene, and delivery of dental care will be addressed.
Gum diseases and tooth decay or dental caries are among the most common dental diseases globally. However, they are also preventable and can have a detrimental effect on an individual’s overall health. To combat this problem, the world health organization (WHO) has developed suitable measures that are accessible and affordable with the sole aim of preventing and controlling oral diseases.
Gum diseases, also known as periodontal diseases, often occur among both the male and female gender. However, dentists like Dr. Toghrul Ibrahimli have noticed that the prevalence of gum diseases occurs more in men than in women. This observation may be attributed to the fact that women are more likely to take good care of their oral health and visit the dentist more regularly than men.
Women also have higher compliance with dental treatment and have better dental literacy than men. Overall, women care more about oral hygiene and the appearance of their teeth than men.
Risk factors for gum disease
· Plague levels
· Bacteria composition
Why risk assessment is important
The above-listed risk factors are equally common in both sexes. Assessment can be done in the form of DNA testing or testing the levels and identity of gum bacteria. This will help in finding out the risk and aid proper treatment and planning.
Adequate prevention and treatment of gum disease go a long way in maintaining overall health, especially as gum diseases increase a person’s susceptibility and exacerbation to diseases like heart or cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, birthing preterm babies, etc.
Dental caries or tooth decay
Studies have shown that women are more likely to have dental caries than men as they are at higher risk. This may be because women have more access to food; frequently snack during menstrual periods and pregnancy. There is also an earlier tooth eruption in girls.
Genetics has also been shown to play a massive role in the higher risk of dental caries in women. The female chromosome entails the XX chromosome. On the p-arm of this chromosome( the short arm), there’s a gene, amelogenin. A deficiency in this gene could cause a malformation or disrupt the formation of the enamel matrix and increase the susceptibility of females to tooth decay.
· Consuming sugary beverages
· Bad oral hygiene
· Use of non-fluoride toothpaste
Why risk assessment is important
Risk assessment, as well as prevention, counseling, and hygiene, is important to prevent dental caries among women. It also helps in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals with this condition.
People should be educated on properly using a soft bristle toothbrush at the proper positioning and angulation. Fluoride toothbrushes should also be encouraged.
Since males tend to take more beverages containing sugar, such as carbonated and energy drinks, they should be warned of the increased risk of tooth decay. Smoking should also be stopped as it contributes significantly to both periodontal diseases and dental caries.
How hormonal fluctuations in women have an impact on oral health
Pregnancy, puberty, and menopause all have one thing in common-hormonal changes. Here is how these changes affect women’s oral health:
Pregnancy and puberty
Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy and puberty lead to increased hormone production(estrogen) in puberty and pregnancy. In puberty, there’s higher perfusion to the gum(gingiva), while in pregnancy, inflammation of the gingiva tissues, tooth mobility, and erosion, gum diseases can occur. Some studies have shown that pregnant women with periodontitis have higher risks of gestational diabetes, preterm birth, and preeclampsia.
To prevent these issues, pregnant women must get adequately educated on maintaining good oral care and hygiene. Maintaining proper oral hygiene during the perinatal period (usually the period after pregnancy) will also help reduce the transmission of oral bacteria to the infant.
In menopause, there is reduced production of female sex hormones. As a result, changes in the oral mucosa, pain, dry mouth, and increased risk of tooth decay may occur in women. Burning mouth syndrome is one of the significant problems that occur in the oral cavity during menopause.
Osteoporosis also occurs in both women undergoing menopause and older men. This can cause notable fractures in the jaw bone and resorption in the alveolar bone.
Ways of preventing oral diseases
· Educating people on the importance of oral hygiene and frequent visits to the dentist.
· Encouraging flossing
· Helping people make oral health a priority by suggesting new techniques to ensure compliance, especially in males.
Understanding the differences in oral make-up and health among males and females will help dental professionals and other health care practitioners to improve patient care by using more effective preventive and treatment measures. Both sexes need to be reassured that going to see a dentist and dental care procedures are entirely safe and essential. Dental practitioners and other health care specialists also need to work hand in hand to achieve optimum oral and overall health for both sexes.