Study: Women Have Brighter Smiles For Good Reason

August 29, 2003 ( - If you've been admiring women's gleaming smiles lately, there's a good reason for those pearly whites: women tend to take better care of their teeth.

That’s one conclusion of a recent study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, which found that men of all ages are more likely than women to have:

  • persistent bad breath
  • periodontal disease, including tender gums that bleed
  • deeper periodontal pockets
  • loose or separating teeth.

One possible reason for the comparative mess in men’s mouths: While men spend as much as women on dental services, they visit dentists less often.

“Anecdotes and some informal surveys have indicated that men are more ambivalent than women about a range of preventive dental practices and are less likely to floss or visit the dentist every year,” said Maxwell Anderson, vice president and dental director for Washington Dental Service, a dental benefits provider, in a statement. “Missing regular dental checkups can lead to more serious and expensive oral health problems.”

According to a press release, the key for both men and women is proper preventative care.

“A major difference between health and dental spending is that dental spending, especially from dental benefits programs, goes mostly for preventive care. So, the more people spend on preventive dentistry, the less they’ll spend overall,” Anderson said.

The announcement said that the American Dental Hygienists’ Association has estimated that for every dollar spent on preventive dental care, $8 to $50 is saved in restorative and emergency procedures. Early detection and treatment are estimated to save the United States $4 billion annually.