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Tooth brushing habits in uninstructed adults—frequency, technique, duration and force

Abstract

Professional recommendations for individual oral hygiene mostly include tooth brushing at least twice daily for 2–3 min with gentle force using the Bass technique or modifications of it. This study evaluated whether habitual tooth brushing actually meets these standards. Uninstructed adults (n = 103; mean age 31 ± 6 years; 61 female, 42 male) with habitual manual tooth brushing were given a self-administered questionnaire about the frequency of brushing and a computer system recorded their brushing technique, duration and force. The majority (79.6%) of participants brushed twice daily. The mean brushing duration was 96.6 ± 36.0 s, the mean brushing force was 2.3 ± 0.7 N (max. 4.1 N), and no significant differences were found for quadrants. Most subjects (73.8%) brushed with circling, 8.7% with horizontal/scrubbing, 13.6% with horizontal/circling and 3.9% with vertical/sweeping movements. Modified Bass technique was not observed. When appropriate brushing habits were defined as brushing at least twice daily for 120 s with a brushing force of less than 3 N and with circling or vertical sweeping movements, only 25.2% of the participants fulfilled all criteria, emphasising the ongoing need for oral hygiene education.

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Acknowledgement

We deeply thank H. Weigand, Institute of Physical Chemistry, University of Giessen, Germany for constructing the video system and the device for measuring brushing force, as well as for programming the software.

The study was supported by grant of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft KL 410/6-2

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to C. Ganss.

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Ganss, C., Schlueter, N., Preiss, S. et al. Tooth brushing habits in uninstructed adults—frequency, technique, duration and force. Clin Oral Invest 13, 203 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00784-008-0230-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00784-008-0230-8

Keywords

  • Toothbrushing
  • Force
  • Duration
  • Frequency
  • Technique