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Are You Brushing Your Teeth The Wrong Way?

May 16, 2012

Almost all Swedes brush their teeth, yet only one in ten does it in a way that effectively prevents tooth decay. Now researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, are eager to teach Swedes how to brush their teeth more effectively.

Most Swedes regularly brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste. But only few know the best brushing technique, how the toothpaste should be used and how fluoride prevents tooth decay.

In two separate studies, Pia Gabre and her colleagues at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, studied the tooth brushing habits of 2013 Swedes aged 15-16, 31-35, 60-65 and 76-80 — how often and for how long, how often fluoride toothpaste is used, how much toothpaste is put on the toothbrush and how much water is used during and after the tooth brushing.

The results show that only ten percent of the population use toothpaste in the most effective way.

‘Swedes generally do brush their teeth, but mostly because of social norms and to feel fresh rather than to prevent tooth decay,’ says Gabre.

Swedes could improve their oral health considerably by learning how to maximize the effect of fluoride toothpaste, according to Gabre.

Nevertheless, the study shows that 80 percent are generally happy with how they take care of their teeth.

‘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,’ says Gabre.

The researchers conclude that Swedes’ knowledge about tooth brushing must be improved and that the provided advice must be made simpler, clearer and more easy to use.

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