Medacs Healthcare

APR 29/2013

Does gender determine how likely a patient is to visit the dentist?

Those in dental jobs may have noticed a trend in their surgeries - that women are perhaps more frequent visitors than men. New research from Simplyhealth has shed light on men's and women's attitudes to the dentist, as well as their differing views on oral hygiene.

According to the research of 5,000 people - 2,899 of whom were female - 70 per cent of women have visited the dentist in the past year, compared to 60 per cent of men. In fact, ten per cent more women brush their teeth twice a day, with just three-quarters of men ensuring their mouths are cleaned regularly.

Female patients also appear to take a more cautious approach to dental care, with 27 per cent steering clear of acidic or fizzy drinks that could erode their teeth. In contrast, just 19 per cent of men take the same precaution. The study further showed 15 per cent of women used interdental brushes, compared to 13 per cent of men.  

When it came to oral hygiene and the wider health implications, it was shown 72 per cent of women were aware their mouth health could impact on other aspects of their wellbeing, in contrast to 61 per cent of men. Some 38 per cent of females knew there was a link between poor oral hygiene and cardiovascular disease, with just 28 per cent of males aware of the issue.

It also seems women would take a more proactive approach to improving their oral health where necessary. The survey found 80 per cent of women would take better care of themselves if they thought bad oral hygiene was linked to serious health conditions, compared to 74 per cent of men.

So what can today's dentist do to help encourage men into their practices and ensure patients are aware of the wider health implications of oral hygiene? As well as sending patients appointment reminders, they can also display plenty of informative posters around their surgeries to help keep people up-to-date. Talking to regular patients could also help ensure the important message of good oral hygiene is spread by word of mouth.

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