The aim of the study was to investigate the possibility of increasing knowledge about the caries-reducing effects of fluoride (F) toothpaste and to increase the use of F toothpaste among older adults through an intervention.
63-67-year-olds in Sweden, who 2 years earlier had answered a questionnaire about their knowledge of F toothpaste, toothbrushing and toothpaste habits and who had shown less favourable habits with regard to toothpaste use, were invited to participate. The 20-min intervention, performed at a Public Dental Clinic, was implemented by a dental hygienist (author OJ) and consisted of individual information and instruction on the use of F toothpaste. The questionnaire was repeated 4 months after the intervention and a population in another city in Sweden served as control.
In the intervention group, 68 individuals responded and 151 in the control group. Knowledge of the benefits of F toothpaste in the intervention group had improved between the times of the first and second questionnaires, but the same effect was also noted in the control group. After the intervention, a clear improvement concerning the use of F toothpaste was reported: the individuals brushed for a longer time, used more toothpaste and used less water during and after brushing. In the control group, there were no changes of habits between the first and second occasions.
Individually-based interventions performed by a dental hygienist had a positive effect on changing the way older adults used F toothpaste.