The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Sex differences in carious lesions in modern Maya populations: food consumption or else?


1Facultad de Odontología, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, 2Facultad de Ciencias Antropológicas, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán

Saturday 2:45-3:00, Galleria South Add to calendar

Sex-related differences in carious lesions are often associated to resource access, although physiological factors are also deemed cariogenic. The present study analyzes caries in two Maya samples from two different socio-economic settings both in northern Yucatan: one from a globalized small town and a second one from a traditional Maya hamlet still characterized by native subsistence patterns and lifestyle. Both samples were equally grouped by sex and five-year age classes ranging from 15 to 30 years of age. Frequencies increase with age and female carious rates predominate over males in both cohorts. Overall rates of caries by sex and age are significantly lower in the native population in comparison with the urbanized group, despite the latter having better access to education, tooth cleaning devices, and odontological facilities, with the exception of the 15-20 years old native females that prevail over the same-aged urbanized females. In both cases, sex is not a limiting factor to resource access, so sex differences must be looked for in daily habits and physiological factors. Seventy percent of native women have their first offspring in the 15-20 age class after which they completely dedicate to household activities. Conversely, their small town’s coetaneous girls usually complete high school and seventy percent have the first child in the 20-25 age class. Access to industrialized foods seems to be deleterious for oral health regardless of sex; however in the gender-related differences, physiological factors, daily habits and lifestyle play a major role in carious lesions within and between samples

CONACyT CB 2005 50091 to A.C.

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