The purpose of the present paper was to explain brushing behaviour, interdental cleaning behaviour and sugar behaviour using a selected set of independent variables among 13-14, 23-24, 35-44 and 45-54 year old Norwegians. The empirical data were derived from the Trøndelag survey in 1983 (n = 3339), and the data collection was carried out by means of a self-administered questionnaire. Multiple regression analysis was applied. The model was able to explain from 15-19 per cent of the variance in brushing behaviour, from 6-10 per cent in interdental cleaning behaviour, and from 1-5 per cent in sugar behaviour in the four age groups. It provided a good fit for brushing behaviour and interdental cleaning behaviour among adults. Brushing was found to be a habitualized behaviour supported by social norms, and the habit of toothbrushing seems to persist into later life. Among schoolchildren interdental cleaning behaviour and sugar behaviour seemed to be influenced by the same forces. The model did not fit sugar behaviour of adults, which means that other personal and social processes govern their sugar consumption, and the present model is not able to capture these processes. This might indicate that the motives behind the consumption of sweets are different between adolescent subjects and adults.
As part of the comprehensive study "Health Behavior in Schoolchildren. A WHO Cross National Survey", this paper set out to identify determinants of four dental health behavioral dimensions in Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish schoolchildren aged 11, 13, and 15. The data were collected by means of self-administered questionnaires, and the results are considered to be representative of each country. The total sample size approximated 3000 pupils in each country. The four dependent variables, fluoride, interdental cleaning, sugar, and brushing behavior, were all based upon sum-scores of several questions, and were subsequently regressed upon five predictors: school achievement, sex, time spent with friends, educational plans, and family meal pattern. This model provided a far better fit to the data on sugar and brushing behavior than to fluoride and interdental cleaning behavior. However, brushing seems to be different from sugar behavior, being influenced by different factors. While brushing is closely linked to the prevailing sex-role pattern, sugar behavior is stronger related to peer group norms. Thus, the symbolic function of sweet consumption of the youth culture should have implications for the design of intervention strategies. For example, the provision of alternative behaviors will only be successful if the behaviors serve the same function as sugar consumption.
The present study was part of the project "Health Behavior in Schoolchildren. A WHO Cross National Survey". The distribution of eight dental health behaviors among Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish schoolchildren aged 11, 13, and 15 yr was studied separately for boys and girls. The sample size approximated 3000 individuals for each country, and the samples are considered to be representative for whole countries. The distinction between individual and collective behavior was empirically supported in this study. Thus collective behaviors (supervised fluoride rinsing and distribution of fluoride tablets) did not vary according to sex but declined with increasing age. On the other hand, individual behaviors varied according to sex and tended to increase in frequency with increasing age. The levels of the studied dental health behaviors were different among the three countries. This may be related to country-specific preventive policies as well as social and cultural norms.
This study is part of the Cross-National Survey on Health Behaviour in Schoolchildren--A WHO Collaborative Study, which started in 1982. The aim of the study was to describe the oral health habits (oral hygiene habits, use of sugar snacks and use of fluorides) in schoolchildren in 11 countries. The data were gathered during the 1985-86 school year, and the age groups studied were 11-, 13- and 15-year olds from Austria, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Israel, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales. The data are nationally representative for the age groups concerned. Exact results are presented for toothbrushing frequency and use of dental floss, toothpicks, sweets, soft drinks, fluoride toothpaste, fluoride rinses and fluoride tablets. Toothbrushing was consistently less frequent among boys than among girls. Use of dental floss is still very rare. Efforts must be continued to reduce the consumption of sweets and soft drinks. These findings should be taken into consideration when attempts are made to improve oral health education.