Individually, people can prevent dental caries by sugar restriction and periodontal disease by toothbrushing. The aim of this study was to determine the toothbrushing frequency and consumption of sweets and soft drinks in some European countries. The data were obtained during the winter of 1983-84 from schoolchildren aged 11.5, 13.5 and 15.5 in Austria, England, Finland and Norway. Except for England, the samples were nationally representative. The questionnaires were completed at school. Dental health habits apparently were best in Norway, as the toothbrushing frequency was highest and the consumption of sweets and soft drinks was lowest. The toothbrushing frequency of boys was lowest in Finland. The consumption of sweets and soft drinks was very high in Austria and England. Such international comparisons should be used when evaluating and directing national programmes of preventive dentistry.
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.
This study is part of the Cross-National Survey on Health Behaviour in School-aged Children--a WHO Collaborative Study, which started in 1982. The aim of the study was to describe the oral hygiene habits (toothbrushing and flossing) of 11-year-old schoolchildren in 22 European countries (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, FInland, France, Germany, Greenland, Hungary, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Russia, Scotland, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, and Wales) and Canada. The data were collected from standardized anonymous questionnaires in school classrooms during the 1993-1994 school year. At least 1300 school children, representing the whole country, participated in the study in each country. Oral hygiene habits were analyzed according to gender, age, country, school performance, and family economy. The children brushed most favorably in Sweden, Denmark, German, Austria, and Norway (83-73% brushed twice a day). More-than-once-a-day toothbrushing was especially uncommon (from 26 to 33%) among boys in Finland, Lithuania, Russia, Estonia, and Latvia. Toothbrushing frequency differed significantly according to school performance in Canada, the Czech Republic, Scotland, Poland, Northern Ireland, and Wales and between different socio-economic groups in Northern Ireland, Wales, the Czech Republic, Scotland, Poland, and Russia. Use of dental floss was rare. In general, flossing was less frequent among boys than among girls. Daily flossing was most common among Canadian adolescents (25%). In conclusion, there are considerable differences in toothbrushing frequency among children in European countries.
The preventive, and partly the remineralizing, effect of xylitol was shown in Finland in the Turku Sugar Studies in 1971-73. Since then, several clinical trials in many countries have confirmed these results. In Finland, oral health personnel have recommended daily use of xylitol chewing gum in their dental health education. Moreover, commercial companies have advertised xylitol, emphasizing in particular its caries preventive effects. All Nordic dental associations have given their recommendations for xylitol use. The aim of this study was to describe how this health habit has been adopted by Finnish schoolchildren. The study was part of the comprehensive cross-national survey on Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC Study)--a WHO Collaborative Study. The data were collected using standardized questionnaires to which pupils in grades 5 (11 years), 7 (13 years) and 9 (15 years) responded anonymously in school classrooms during the spring term 1998. The response rate varied between 87% (15-year-old boys) and 94% (11- and 13-year-old girls). Among boys, the percentages of daily users of xylitol chewing gum were 47% (11 years), 46% (13 years), and 44% (15 years), and among girls, 57% (11 years), 65% (13 years), and 69% (15 years), respectively. Use of sugar-sweetened chewing gum was very rare (1%), as also was use of chewing gum with other artificial sweeteners (1%). It may be concluded that since 1991 the use of xylitol chewing gum has further increased in Finland and currently more than a half of all schoolchildren benefit from it.