Volume 40 (1999) Issue 4 Pages 187-193
This study aimed to evaluate gender differences in oral health behavior and general health habits in adults. The subjects were 207 males and 196 females aged 20-64 yrs who were public officials in the city or town administrations in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. The questionnaire survey included three items: (1) self assessment of oral health status, (2) oral health behavior and (3) general health habits. Statistical analysis was performed using the chi-square test for differences of responses between males and females. The proportion of subjects with cognition of symptoms of oral disease ranged from 14.3 to 23.0%. The percentage of those who had not visited a dentist in the last year were 52.7% for males and 36.7% for females (p<0.01). Subjects who brushed their teeth almost every day at bed time were 60.9% of males and 88.8% of females (p<0.01). A comparison of the numbers of positive responses regarding general health habits found no differences in the distribution of general health habits score between males and females. Examining the relationship between oral health behavior and general health habits revealed that males with general habit high scores tended to have positive oral hygiene behavior. These results support the thesis that gender specificities in oral health depend on individual attitudes to oral health and dental utilization. In addition, understanding the cognitive factors of males and females would accelerate dental approaches to modifying oral health behavior of both groups, thus contributing to lifelong health maintenance.