• Users Online: 62
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page
Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Contacts Login 

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 17-20

Gender-based differences in occurrence of gingival disease among dental students: A survey

1 Department of Periodontics, Y.M.T. Dental College and Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Periodontics, Dasmesh Institute of Research and Dental Sciences, Faridkot, Punjab, India
3 Department of Community Dentistry, D.J. Dental College, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication20-Jan-2017

Correspondence Address:
Laksha R Chelani
B-5, Avon Apartments, Veer Savarkar Marg, Mahim, Mumbai - 400 016, Maharashtra
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2348-1471.198783

Rights and Permissions

Background: Females have a more favorable attitude toward health-related issues, including dental health behavior. Many studies have shown gender differences in the occurrence of gingival disease, but a few have clearly explained what causes this difference. Objectives: The present survey was conducted to assess gender differences in the occurrence of gingival disease among dental students, influenced by oral health behaviors and lifestyle factors. Materials and Methods: The survey assessed 209 dental students (59 males and 150 females) aged between 18 and 29 years. The assessment of oral hygiene intraorally was done using plaque index, sulcus bleeding index, and simplified oral hygiene index. Additional information was collected regarding oral health behaviors and lifestyle factors. The results of the survey were subjected to analysis to test the statistical significance. Results: Chi-square test was used to assess the gender differences. It was found that females had better oral health behaviors and a healthier lifestyle (P < 0.001) than males. There were significant differences between males and females (P < 0.001) when the oral health status was compared. Conclusion: Gender-based differences in gingival disease among dental students were found to be significant in this survey. This can be explained by oral health behaviors and hygiene status, which is influenced by lifestyle factors. Hence, different approaches to males and females may be helpful in preventing gingival disease.

Keywords: Gender differences, gingival disease, lifestyle factors, oral health, oral hygiene

How to cite this article:
Sanadi RM, Chelani LR, Suthar NJ, Khuller N, Basavaraj P. Gender-based differences in occurrence of gingival disease among dental students: A survey. Dent Med Res 2017;5:17-20

How to cite this URL:
Sanadi RM, Chelani LR, Suthar NJ, Khuller N, Basavaraj P. Gender-based differences in occurrence of gingival disease among dental students: A survey. Dent Med Res [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Nov 27];5:17-20. Available from: https://www.dmrjournal.org/text.asp?2017/5/1/17/198783

  Introduction Top

Oral health is often considered a distinct specialty that is separate from the body as a whole. However, the health of the oral cavity can have wide-reaching effects on overall health. Poor oral health may occur concomitantly with a more serious underlying disease process or may predispose an individual to other health conditions.[1] Oral diseases have strong associations with systemic diseases, and poor oral health can worsen the impact of systemic diseases. Protecting oral health is therefore critical to maintaining overall health.

In research dealing with the major chronic diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disorders and cancer), more emphasis has been directed toward the combined influence of lifestyle, psychological factors, and social conditions, instead of standard risk factors.[2] In recent years, this idea has spread to dentistry as well.[3],[4] Hence, researchers have begun to study not only the standard risk factors, which do not explain everything, but also the combined influences of lifestyle and oral health behaviors.

The concept of lifestyle makes it possible to study behavior in a wider sense, and it sheds more light on the personal characteristics of an individual than earlier investigations which included only dental health habits or smoking habits. Oral health behaviors such as frequency of tooth brushing, use of dental floss, and frequency of dental visits are associated with various factors, including knowledge, attitude, lifestyle, stress, education level, and socioeconomic status. Of these six factors, knowledge, attitude, and lifestyle have been related to gender differences.[5],[6],[7]

Understanding how gender differences in oral health behaviors affect gingival condition in young people may enable efficient prevention of periodontitis through improved therapeutic approaches against gingivitis. Studies carried out have shown that the dental health behavior of women is healthier than that of men. The prevalence of periodontal disease is lower among women than men.[8],[9] The aim of the present study was to assess gender-based differences in gingival disease, influenced by oral health behaviors and other lifestyle factors, among dental students.

  Materials and Methods Top

The survey was carried out in a dental college. The participants of this survey were 209 dental students studying in this college that included both males and females. Ethical clearance was obtained from the College Ethical Committee. Informed consent was obtained from all the participants.

A clinical questionnaire was designed for the survey to assess the following oral health-related variables.

The oral health behaviors reported by the participants included frequency of toothbrushing, use of dental floss, and frequency of dental visits in the past year.

Lifestyle factors included experience of smoking, experience of drinking alcohol, regular physical exercise, maintaining proper weight, and sleeping regularly.

Intraoral examination included assessment of oral hygiene status of the subjects using plaque index (Silness and Loe, 1964), sulcus bleeding index (Muhlemann and Son, 1971), and simplified oral hygiene index (Greene and Vermillion, 1964).

All the participants were requested to fill up the questionnaire. The examination of all the participants was carried out by a single person, to eliminate bias. The examiner was adequately trained in all aspects for the assessment.

  Results Top

The data thus obtained from the questionnaire were tabulated and then subjected to statistical analysis. Descriptive statistics were expressed as means and standard deviations for each group. Association of gender with the oral health behaviors and various lifestyle factors related to gingival disease was done using Chi-square test. In the above test, P ≤ 0.05 was taken to be statistically significant. All analyses were performed using SPSS software version 10 (IBM SPSS Statistics, India).

Out of the 209 participants [Table 1], 150 were females (71.77%) and 59 were males (28.23%). The age distribution [Table 2] of the study participants was between 18 and 29 years.
Table 1: Gender distribution of study participants

Click here to view
Table 2: Age distribution of study participants

Click here to view

In oral health behaviors [Table 3], there was no statistically significant difference when tooth brushing frequency (P = 0.533), use of dental floss (P = 0.198), and frequency of dental visits in the past year (P = 0.211) were compared between males and females [Graph 1] and [Graph 2].
Table 3: Association of gender and oral health behaviors

Click here to view

Among the lifestyle factors [Table 4], statistically, there was a highly significant difference when experience of smoking (P < 0.001), experience of drinking (P < 0.001), maintaining proper weight (P = 0.010), and sleeping regularly (P = 0.041) were compared between males and females [Graph 3]. However, there was no significant difference between males and females when the variable of regular physical exercise (P = 0.051) was compared.
Table 4: Association of gender and various lifestyle factors

Click here to view

On intraoral examination [Table 5], plaque index (P < 0.001), sulcus bleeding index (P < 0.001) and simplified oral hygiene index (P < 0.001) scores showed a statistically significant difference when compared between males and females [Graph 4].
Table 5: Association of gender with oral health indices

Click here to view

  Discussion Top

Oral health is an integral part of general health and should not be isolated as it contributes to determining the overall health condition of an individual. Systemic health is closely linked to the state of the oral cavity. Hence, oral health and general health should not be interpreted as separate entities.

In this survey, gender differences were seen in most variables. The findings of this survey were similar to previous studies which have shown the most favorable attitudes of females on issues related to lifestyle and oral health. Ostberg et al.[5] conducted a survey in which it was found that girls scored more favorably on behavioral measures, showed more interest in oral health, and perceived their own oral health to be good to a higher degree than did boys.

Gender was found to be a strong predictor of brushing frequency in earlier studies as well. Hodge et al.[10] found that the reasons for more frequent toothbrushing were esthetic or caused by social norms in the case of women. Verbrugge [11] found that the reasons for more frequent dental visits among women could be esthetic or women may have a greater sensitivity toward illness and discomfort and a willingness to seek help. Results of this survey showed that the oral health behavior of females was better than males; however, this difference was not significant. This could be probably because all the participants included in this study were dental students who had a good knowledge about maintaining oral health.

Among the lifestyle factors, the percentage of distribution of males who had an experience of smoking and drinking was significantly higher than that of females. These findings were similar to those of Royce et al.,[12] who found that women were less likely to be smokers than men, and Wilsnack et al.,[13] who stated that men consistently exceeded women in drinking frequencies and quantities. The percentage distribution of maintaining proper weight and sleeping regularly was significantly higher in females as compared to males. This was similar to the findings of von Bothmer and Fridlund,[14] who found that males were physically inactive and had unhealthy nutritional habits.

Females had significantly lower values for all the three oral health indices as compared to males. These findings were similar to a study conducted by Furuta et al.,[15] who found that females had higher levels of oral health behaviors and better oral hygiene status than males.

  Conclusion Top

Studies have reported the existence of a gender difference in the occurrence of gingival disease that can be explained by oral health behaviors and hygiene status, which is influenced by lifestyle factors. Hence, the present survey was conducted to find out gender-based differences in occurrence of gingival disease among dental students. The results obtained from this survey support the hypothesis of gender differences, reflecting a higher incidence of gingival disease in males than females.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Bashar A, Alam M. Poor oral health and pre-term low birth infants. Bangladesh Med J 2009; 37:56-65.  Back to cited text no. 1
Kickbusch I. Life-styles and health. Soc Sci Med 1986;22:117-24.  Back to cited text no. 2
Rossow L. Developing Health Behavior. Empirical Studies in Childhood and Adolescence. Thesis. Oslo: University of Oslo; 1993.  Back to cited text no. 3
Schou L, Currie C, McQueen D. Using a “lifestyle” perspective to understand toothbrushing behaviour in Scottish schoolchildren. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 1990;18:230-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
Ostberg AL, Halling A, Lindblad U. Gender differences in knowledge, attitude, behavior and perceived oral health among adolescents. Acta Odontol Scand 1999;57:231-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
Fukai K. Statistical analysis of cognitions of oral health and acceptance of dental care in Japanese adult population. J Dent Health 1998;48:120-42.  Back to cited text no. 6
Sakki TK, Knuuttila ML, Anttila SS. Lifestyle, gender and occupational status as determinants of dental health behavior. J Clin Periodontol 1998;25:566-70.  Back to cited text no. 7
Vehkalahti M, Paunio IK, Nyyssonen V, Aromaa A. Oral health in the adult Finnish population and associated factors. Helsinki, Turku, Finland, AL: Publications of the Social Insurance Institution; 1991. p. 252.  Back to cited text no. 8
Bellini HT, Gjermo P. Application of the Periodontal Treatment Need System (PTNS) in a group of Norwegian industrial employees. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 1973;1:22-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
Hodge HC, Holloway PJ, Bell CR. Factors associated with toothbrushing behaviour in adolescents. Br Dent J 1982;152:49-51.  Back to cited text no. 10
Verbrugge LM. A health profile of older women with comparisons to older men. Res Aging 1984;6:291-322.  Back to cited text no. 11
Royce JM, Corbett K, Sorensen G, Ockene J. Gender, social pressure, and smoking cessations: The Community Intervention Trial for Smoking Cessation (COMMIT) at baseline. Soc Sci Med 1997;44:359-70.  Back to cited text no. 12
Wilsnack RW, Vogeltanz ND, Wilsnack SC, Harris TR, Ahlström S, Bondy S, et al. Gender differences in alcohol consumption and adverse drinking consequences: Cross-cultural patterns. Addiction 2000;95:251-65.  Back to cited text no. 13
von Bothmer MI, Fridlund B. Gender differences in health habits and in motivation for a healthy lifestyle among Swedish university students. Nurs Health Sci 2005;7:107-18.  Back to cited text no. 14
Furuta M, Ekuni D, Irie K, Azuma T, Tomofuji T, Ogura T, et al. Sex differences in gingivitis relate to interaction of oral health behaviors in young people. J Periodontol 2011;82:558-65.  Back to cited text no. 15


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]

This article has been cited by
1 Risk Factors Associated with Periodontal Diseases among Yemeni Adult Patients
Cumhuriyet Dental Journal. 2022;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 A survey of oral health status, subjective oral symptoms and oral health behaviors among first-year dental students at a Japanese university
Hitomi Suzuki, Kumiko Sugimoto, Ayako Kubota-Miyazawa, Kanako Noritake, Sachi Umemori, Kouji Araki, Naoko Adachi, Hiromi Otsuka, Naomi Yoshida
Journal of Oral Science. 2021;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
Materials and Me...
Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded389    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 2    

Recommend this journal