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American Journal of Men's Health

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Oral Health, Men's Health


Sex and gender related health disparities in oral health remain an underappreciated and often over looked aspect of well-being. The goal of this narrative review is to identify sex and gender related oral health disparities by summarizing the current literature related to differences in oral health between men and women. The review identified that men are more likely to: ignore their oral health, have poorer oral hygiene habits, and experience higher rates of periodontal disease, oral cancer, and dental trauma. Men also visit dentists less frequently and compared to women seek oral treatment more often for an acute problem and less often for disease prevention. Women exhibit more positive attitudes about dental visits, greater oral health literacy, and demonstrate better oral health behaviors than men. Men disproportionately develop periodontal diseases due to a combination of biological and gender related reasons including immune system factors, hormone differences, poorer oral hygiene behaviors, and greater tobacco use. There is a male to female ratio of 2:1 for oral cancer, largely attributable to more tobacco use, heavier use of alcohol, and longer sun exposure. Minority men experience a disproportionate burden of oral health disparities because of both their gender and race/ethnic identities. In conclusion, this review identifies several differences between men and women related to oral health and highlights the need for further research to better understand these disparities and how to incorporate them into developing prevention, education and treatment strategies to improve oral health in men.


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