Toothbrushing and flossing behaviour in young adults - a video observation

Authors: Winterfeld, T., Schlueter, N., Harnacke, D., Illig, J., Margraf-Stiksrud, J., Deinzer, R., Ganss, C. (2014)

Objectives: Video observation studies of habitual oral hygiene from the 1970s revealed a striking neglect of brushing oral surfaces and unsystematic brushing patterns with frequent movements between areas. These findings were not systematically followed up; furthermore, nothing is known about whether subjects are able to floss sufficiently. Therefore, the aim of this video study was to analyse the performance of habitual toothbrushing and flossing. Methods: A random sample of 101 18-year-olds was included. Toothbrush and floss were provided; habitual brushing/flossing was videotaped in a standardised setting and analysed with the video coding software INTERACT. Parameters of interest were toothbrushing duration, type of brushing strokes, brushing patterns, flossed interproximal spaces and flossing technique. Results: The mean brushing duration was 156.0 ± 71.1 s; duration differed only slightly between the upper and lower jaw as well as between the right, left and anterior areas. However, oral surfaces were brushed distinctly shorter than vestibular surfaces (27.1 ± 27.8 s versus 72.1 ± 31.8 s; p ≤ 0.001). Participants brushed different areas of the mouth with different types of strokes, predominantly with horizontal and circular strokes. Brushing movements frequently alternated between areas (45.1 ± 22.4) not randomly but accumulated within a jaw with a tendency to move from the right to the left. Half of the participants flossed, but only one performed sufficiently. Conclusions: There was a significant neglect of brushing oral surfaces and insufficient use of floss. Brushing patterns were similar to those observed in the 1970s. Clinical relevance: Understanding habitual oral hygiene behaviour is essential for improving oral hygiene instruction strategies.

Learn more >>>