GENDER DIFFERENCES IN ORAL CARE HABITS, ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOURS OF ADOLESCENTS IN THE CITY OF KLAIPEDA
Background. For many, the adolescent years can be a difficult emotional period and a time when dental and medical needs may be neglected. Oral health is one of the most unmet health care needs of adolescents. Oral diseases can have a profound effect on overall health, including pain, missed school, heart disease, and even death (Silk and Kwok, 2017).
Aim of the survey: to study the gender differences in oral hygiene habits, attitudes and behaviours in Klaipeda city adolescents sample.
Methods: There were 1206 questionnaires distributed (response rate 95.3 %). A total of 1150 adolescents participated in the study, with 52.4 % being girls, and the mean age was 13.4 years.
Results. The study results demonstrated girls more often brushed their teeth than boys, 86.8 % and 68.5 %, respectively (p<0.001). Almost all the participants (98.5 %) used toothpaste and a toothbrush on a daily basis, but girls more often used dental floss (66.3 % as compared to boys 33.7 %, p<0.001), mouthwash (60.3 % as compared to boys 39.7 %, p<0.001) and other dental care products (79.5 % as compared to boys 20.5 %, p<0.05) for toothbrushing and daily dental care. The girls brushed their teeth in the morning (92.9 %) and before bedtime (91.0 %), as well as the boys (85.0 % and 77.5 %, respectively, p<0.001).
Conclusions. Girls demonstrated better oral health care habits, comparing to boys. Boys had greater, as compared to girls, dental fear, restricting them from having regular appointments for check-ups at the dental office. Girls more frequently than boys had an attitude that teeth should be kept clean for aesthetic purposes and in order to ensure their longevity. Girls preferred to seek a dentist’s help as soon as it is needed and to maintain good oral health, because it’s essential to human health in general.
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