Although both dentistry and anthropology often characterize oral disease risks in behavioral terms, two recent studies indicate that a complex mix of both biological and cultural factors can determine increased risks of caries for women and destructive periodontal disease for men.
For example, does the number of pregnancies (parity) a woman carries in her lifetime influence the number of caries she develops? According to the ADA, some dietary behavioral changes that occur during pregnancy may contribute to caries development, such as increased snacking, decreased oral hygiene, and increased cravings for sugary food.
But John Lukacs, Ph.D., a professor of anthropology at the University of Oregon, believes that more than behavioral factors are at play.
And, for men:
Another recent study proposes that gender-based differences in immune response contribute to men’s increased risk of periodontal disease (Journal of Periodontology, April 28, 2010).
“Males are at greater risk for periodontitis than females,” co-author Mark A. Reynolds, D.D.S., Ph.D., chair of the periodontics department at the University of Maryland Dental School, told Dr. Bicuspid.com. “Similar findings in animals suggest that current risk models based on behavioral and environmental factors may not adequately account for sex-related differences in disease experience.”
Unfortunately, I see the devastating effects of dental disease on men, women and children.
More health education or certainly different models of education to develop incentive/means for people to practice good dental hygiene and watch their diet is needed.