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J Periodontol. 2010 Oct;81(10):1379-89. doi: 10.1902/jop.2010.100044.

Sex differences in destructive periodontal disease: a systematic review.

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Department of Periodontics, University of Maryland Dental School, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.



Sexual dimorphisms exist in the prevalence and severity of many human conditions and diseases. Models of risk assessment for periodontitis, however, are inconsistent with respect to the inclusion of sex as a risk factor. A systematic review of the literature and meta-analyses estimates sex-related differences in the prevalence of periodontitis.


MEDLINE, EMBASE, and SCOPUS databases were searched for population surveys (sample size >500, half-mouth minimum, clinical attachment level) containing prevalence data on destructive periodontal disease in males and females.


Data were stratified by disease thresholds (3, 4, 5, and 7 mm) representing 50,604 subjects from 12 population surveys meeting selection criteria. Using a ≥ 5-mm clinical attachment loss threshold, seven studies provided data, permitting computation of mean-weighted sex differences in prevalence. Four studies provided data enabling a meta-analysis of prevalence rates. Sex exhibited a significant association with prevalence, reflecting a 9% difference between males and females (37.4% versus 28.1%, respectively), although the overall effect of sex in the meta-analysis was comparatively small (d = 0.19; 95% confidence interval, 0.16 and 0.22). This mean difference in prevalence between males and females was similar regardless of severity of disease threshold and after adjustment for other risk factors.


Men appear at greater risk for destructive periodontal disease than women; however, men do not appear at higher risk for more rapid periodontal destruction than women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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