Okay, okay. We already know that men are from Mars and women are from Venus but what about male teeth Vs. female teeth? Of course, there are lots of differences between us that will reiterate that statement, but, from a dental standpoint, are our teeth so different from one another that they too are from an alien planet?
Are Men’s Teeth Larger?
Let’s start with the basics. We might assume that because men are generally bigger than women that their teeth would also be larger. This isn’t always the case. The shape of natural teeth varies from person to person.
Alas, there seems to be conflicting research as to determining if men’s teeth are in general, larger than women’s teeth. According to the Journal for Dental Research, they find men’s teeth do in fact, tend to be larger, especially the canines, or “eye” teeth. But, according to a study done by researchers for the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Center in Berlin (the researchers included dentists, dental students, dental professional and non-dental professionals) gender differences could only be detected about 50% of the time when shown images of front teeth. There are anthropologic studies that tend to prove differences in men’s and women’s teeth, but this particular study done in Berlin showed that gender differences were not visible to the experts eyes more than half of the time. The researchers looked for things that were known in previous dental research, like how women supposedly have more rounded teeth than angular like men and they still could not determine from the images as to if it was a man or woman. So, they found that shape, size, or color of the canine teeth was not always a determining factor as an indicator of male or female.
Is Tooth Decay more Prevalent in Women?
Now, onto a more important finding. There have been numerous studies that have found that tooth decay is more prevalent in women. An article that was published in the International Journal of Dentistry reported research that determined women had a higher rate of decay due to things like salivary composition and flow, hormone fluctuation, and dietary habits.
It was found that women, especially older women (due to osteoporosis) had a lower flow rate of their saliva. Hormones, which effect saliva, fluctuate through women’s lives due to puberty, menses, pregnancy, birth control and menopause. Saliva is beneficial as far as buffering, washing and remineralization of teeth. When there is less, bacteria tend to hang onto teeth and cause problems.
Women’s hormones fluctuate for obvious reasons month to month. Because of this change in hormones, it can effect the “protective” composition of saliva and make it less effective and cause problems in the oral cavity.
Does Pregnancy Effect Your Teeth?
Pregnancy is also a major hormone changer. It not only causes change in salivary content, but there tend to be cravings with pregnancy, which can lead to a change in dietary habits. There would more likely be snacking which causes an increase in more bacteria in the mouth, and thusly, BAM, cavities!
Even with all of these issues against the fair ladies, women still end up statistically healthier than men with their dental health. It is because women tend to be more proactive in caring for their teeth as far as brushing and flossing (goarticles.com).
Alrighty, lets look at some fun facts (Journal of Periodontology and Doctorshangout.com). Keep in mind that we think that they are fun but we are into the whole dental thing, you know:
- Women are much more likely to use floss on a daily basis than men.
- 75% of women would feel embarrassed if they were missing a tooth compared to 50% of men.
- Women notice much faster if another person is missing a tooth than men.
- 33% of men consider dental health important to maintain overall good health as compared to 44% of women who believe so.
- Women smile about 62 times a day compared to men who smile eight times a day on average.
Szmanda Dental Center is ambivalent to male or female teeth. We love them all and would love to see you at our office! Please make sure you stay on a 6-month cleaning schedule (or more frequent if you suffer from those pesky periodontal bugs) so we can keep your teeth looking great and maybe we can get those guys to smile a bit more……
Information compiled from the Journal of Dental Research, the International Journal of Dentistry, the Dental Tribune, the Journal of Periodontology, goarticles.com, doctorshangout.com and Staff at Szmanda Dental Center. photo credit: pensatore Istintivo! via photopin cc