Gender difference in symptoms related to temporomandibular disorders in a population of 50-year-old subjects

Anders Johansson, Lennart Unell, Gunnar E Carlsson, Björn Söderfeldt, Arne Halling
Journal of Orofacial Pain 2003, 17 (1): 29-35

AIMS: To investigate, by means of a mail questionnaire, the prevalence of symptoms related to temporomandibular disorders (TMD) in 50-year-old subjects living in the counties of Orebro and Ostergötland, Sweden.

METHODS: The total population comprised 8,888 individuals, and the overall response rate was 71%. A clinical evaluation of the masticatory system was performed in subgroups to validate the responses to the questionnaire. There was satisfactory correspondence between self-reports and well-defined clinical conditions.

RESULTS: Women reported, more often than men, pain from the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), TMJ sounds, bruxism, sensitive teeth, and burning mouth symptoms. The prevalences of difficulties in jaw opening, loss of anterior teeth due to trauma, and masticatory problems were greater in men than in women. No gender difference was found in the number of remaining teeth. Logistic regression analysis with pain from the TMJ as the dependent variable identified bruxism, impaired chewing efficiency, and gender (women) as the most significant risk factors. With reduced chewing ability as the dependent variable, several missing teeth constituted the highest risk, followed by pain from the TMJ, bruxism, gender (men), and loss of anterior teeth due to trauma.

CONCLUSION: There were significant gender differences in reported TMD-related symptoms in 50-year-old Swedes. Bruxism was a significant risk factor for pain from the TMJ. Reduced number of teeth and pain from the TMJ were significant risk factors for impaired chewing ability.

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