Gender differences in oral health status and behavior of Greek dental students: A meta-analysis of 1981, 2000, and 2010 data
Originally Published In
Journal of International Society of Preventive and Community Dentistry
The aim of this study was to investigate the oral health status and behavior of Greek dental students over time, and to meta-analyze these findings to test the widely documented hypothesis that women have better oral health behavior, oral hygiene, and periodontal status but higher dental caries rates than men.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
A total sample of 385 students was examined using identical indices to assess oral health and behavioral data initially in 1981 while the years 2000 and 2010 were selected due to significant changes that took place in the dental curriculum in the 1990s and 2000s. Data by gender concerning the outcome variables recorded in every one of the three surveys were analyzed using Mantel-Haenszel and continuous outcomes methods.
A significant improvement in the oral health status and behavior of students was observed over time. The meta-analysis of data by gender showed that females brushed their teeth significantly more often than males [summary odds ratio (OR): 1.95 and 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.08-3.54]. Males and females were found to have a similar risk of developing dental caries.
The hypothesis that young women have better oral hygiene habits compared to men was confirmed. However, the hypothesis that women have better oral hygiene and periodontal status but exhibit higher dental caries experience than men was not supported by the findings of the study.