European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 603–607 | Cite as

Maternal report underestimates the amount of dentifrice used by children during toothbrushing: a cross-sectional study

  • M. F. G. de Siqueira
  • E. T. de SousaEmail author
  • V. F. Alves
  • F. C. Sampaio
  • M. B. Diniz
Original Scientific Article



This study investigated whether the report of mothers about the amount of dentifrice applied on a toothbrush could be a reliable method to estimate the inadvertent use of dentifrices.


A cross-sectional study was conducted in a randomly selected sample of 334 mothers of children enrolled in public day care centres of a city in the Brazilian northeast. Initially, the mothers chose the figure corresponding to the amount of dentifrice used during their children’s daily toothbrushing. Then, they simulated real-life conditions with the toothbrush routinely used to brush the children’s teeth. The amount of dentifrice on toothbrush was weighted using an analytical scale. Data were analysed by the Kruskal–Wallis followed by the Dunn test (α = 0.05).


The weight of dentifrice on the toothbrush was high (> 0.3 g), mainly considering the categories ‘covered only’ and ‘completely covered’ that showed no statistical difference (p > 0.05). The proportion of agreement between the mothers’ reports and the weight of dentifrice on the toothbrush was 0.23 (CI 0.18–0.28).


The mothers’ report regarding the amount of dentifrice on the toothbrush by demonstrative figures was not a reliable method to estimate the inadvertent ingestion of fluoride from dentifrices.


Fluoride intake Dental fluorosis Children 



We especially thank all preschoolers and their parents for their valuable participation in this study. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no potential conflict of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of DentistryUniversity Center of João PessoaJoão PessoaBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Piracicaba Dental SchoolCampinas UniversityPiracicabaBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Public Health and Clinic DentistryFederal University of ParaibaJoão PessoaBrazil
  4. 4.Department of DentistryCruzeiro do Sul UniversitySão PauloBrazil

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