London: Though most people brush their teeth regularly, only one in ten does it in a way that effectively prevents tooth decay, according to a study in Sweden. Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg say almost all Swedes regularly brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste, yet 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 toothbrushing 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 toothbrushing. The results showed 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," said Gabre. Swedes could improve their oral health considerably by learning how to maximise the effect of fluoride toothpaste, she asserted. However, the study found that 80 per cent 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," stated Gabre.

The researchers concluded that Swedes' knowledge about toothbrushing must be improved and that the provided advice must be made simpler, clearer and more easy to use.


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