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International Journal of Dentistry
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 938213, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/938213
Research Article

Caries Experience Differs between Females and Males across Age Groups in Northern Appalachia

1Department of Human Genetics, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
2Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics, Department of Oral Biology, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
3Department of Biostatistics, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
4Dental Practice and Rural Health, West Virginia University School of Dentistry, Department of Psychology, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
5Department of Periodontics, West Virginia University School of Dentistry, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
6Department of Dental Public Health and Information Management, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
7Clinical and Translational Science Institute and Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA

Received 27 February 2015; Revised 18 May 2015; Accepted 19 May 2015

Academic Editor: Yazan Hassona

Copyright © 2015 John R. Shaffer et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Sex disparities in dental caries have been observed across many populations, with females typically exhibiting higher prevalence and more affected teeth. In this study we assessed the sex disparities in two Northern Appalachian populations from West Virginia (WV, ) and Pennsylvania (PA, ) by comparing caries indices between males and females across four phases of dental development: primary dentition in children aged 1–5 years, mixed dentition in children aged 6–11 years, permanent dentition in adolescents aged 12–17 years, and permanent dentition in adults aged 18–59 years. No significant sex differences were observed for children aged 1–5 years. Contrary to national and international trends, WV girls aged 6–11 years had 1.5 fewer affected teeth than boys . However, by ages 12–17, caries indices in the WV girls matched those in boys. In both WV and PA adults, women and men had similar total counts of affected teeth (i.e., DMFT), although women had more dental restorations and men had more current decay . These results suggest that in some Appalachian populations, young girls benefit from protection against caries that is lost during adolescence and that adult women utilize dental health care to a greater degree than men.