Oral Health Disparities: Exploring the Gender Gap in Dental Care

Oral health care should be the most important part of your healthcare regime. Oral health is linked with various diseases primarily related to the lungs and heart. Due to this reason, taking care of your oral health has become imperative. Also, access to proper dental care is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

However, oral health disparities persist in various populations, and one significant aspect of these disparities is the gender gap in dental care. While both men and women face unique challenges in oral health, there are noticeable differences in their access to dental services.

So, in this blog, we are going to look a little closer into the matter of the gender gap in dental care and its implications for oral health disparities.

The Gender Gap in Oral Health

Men and women are two different genders; therefore some disparities among them are common. However, it may come as a surprise to you that oral health, which is quite common between both genders, also has some desperaties. The reasons and the factors contributing to the gender gap in oral health are explained below:

Access to Dental Care

One of the primary factors contributing to the gender gap in dental care is disparities in access to services. Various studies have shown that women have better access to dental care services compared to men.

It is majorly because women end up visiting healthcare providers more frequently due to their reproductive health needs. Additionally, many women have dental insurance through their employers, which may not be as prevalent among men.

Utilisation of Dental Services

Women, by nature, are more likely to utilise any free incentives given to them compared to men. Therefore, when incentives such as dental care are available to women, they are more likely to utilise the services.

This higher utilisation rate is attributed to various factors, including greater awareness of oral health, a proactive approach to healthcare, and a higher likelihood of seeking preventive care.

On the other hand, men are quite careless and may only seek dental care when experiencing severe pain or dental emergencies,, creating a contrasting difference between the two genders regarding dental care.

Oral Health Behaviours

Differences in oral health behaviours also contribute to the gender gap. Women, in general, are more concerned about their self hygiene. As a result, they incorporate oral hygiene practices, including brushing and flossing twice daily.

These womanly tendencies make things more likely to follow their dentist’s advice, including routine check-ups and cleanings. In contrast, men are a little careless about their hygiene and may neglect these behaviours, leading to an increased risk of dental problems.

Risk Factors

Men are more prone to stress than women which causes them to take bad lifestyle choices. As a result, certain bad lifestyle habits are more prevalent in men than women. In simple words, men tend to consume alcohol and do excessive smoking, which can lead to developing oral health issues like gum disease and oral cancer. Additionally, men are more likely to participate in high-risk activities that can result in dental injuries, such as contact sports and accidents.

Socioeconomic Factors

As women are still making their way into the world of jobs, the corporate world is quite lenient with them. There are various incentives that are only given to women and not to men. Thus, socioeconomic factors also play a role in the gender gap in dental care.

Men who belong to lower-income groups or lack dental insurance may face barriers to accessing necessary dental services. Women are more likely to have access to dental care through public assistance programs, which can mitigate some of these barriers.

Final Thoughts

As mentioned earlier, oral care is imperative because it can not only have an impact on your oral health but also on your overall health.  Thus, everyone, regardless of gender, should have access to and utilise proper dental care.

The gender gap in dental care is a complex issue with multifaceted causes. Still, with concerted efforts from healthcare professionals, policymakers, and educational campaigns, we can work towards reducing these disparities. Visit the Balwyn-based dental clinic which offers a wide range of services and defeats gender disparities when it comes to oral health.