Twenty five percent of teenagers in Sweden do not brush their teeth regularly and only 10% of Swedes know how to use toothpaste effectively, according to researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.Even though the majority of people in Sweden brush their teeth, only 1 in 10 brush in a way that effectively prevents tooth decay.
Pia Gabre and her colleagues examined the toothbrushing habits of 2,013 Swedes aged between 15 to 80 years old. The researchers set out to determine how often and how long they brushed their teeth, how much toothpaste is put on the toothbrush, how often fluoride toothpaste is used and how much water is used during and after brushing.
Although fluoride toothpaste was found to be the most popular, only a few know how the toothpaste should be used, how to brush effectively and how fluoride prevents tooth decay - with 1 in 4 Swedes believing that fluoride is to keep the mouth fresh.
Even though 80% of the study popularity reported that they were happy with how the take care of their teeth, the researchers found that over 70% of adults did not know the best way to use toothpaste, and that 55-75% rinse with water after brushing. The best tooth-brushers were women under the age of 35.
"Swedes generally do brush their teeth, but mostly because of social norms and to feel fresh rather than to prevent tooth decay.
Most of the interviewed subjects learned to brush their teeth as children, by their parents. Even if they have been informed about more effective techniques later in life, they continue to brush their teeth like they always have."
According to the researchers, Swedes could significantly improve their oral health by learning how to effectively use fluoride toothpaste. In addition, knowledge about brushing teeth effectively must be improved and be clear and easy to understand.
The researchers highlight that individuals should:
Brush their teeth at least twice a day with toothpaste - after breakfast and before bedtime
Use toothpaste with more fluoride if cavities occur often
Avoid rinsing with water after brushing