Purpose: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the recommendations relating to the use of approximal cleaning aids given by dental hygienists and dentists, the self-care practices in a Swedish population and the ability to remove dental plaque. Materials and Methods: A structured questionnaire was randomly distributed to 500 dental hygienists and 500 dentists and a similar questionnaire was distributed to 1000 randomly selected individuals, divided equally into the following age groups: 15 to 20, 21 to 40, 41 to 60 and > 60 years. A clinical examination evaluating the ability to remove approximal dental plaque was also carried out in a total of 60 regular users of approximal cleaning aids. Plaque was scored before and after cleaning with a toothpick, dental floss or an interdental brush. Results: The response rate was 82%, 79% and 68% for the three groups. The results reveal that dental hygienists give more detailed information about a majority of the aspects that are related to the use of approximal cleaning aids compared with dentists (P < 0.01 or P < 0.001). The majority of the dental staff give recommendations to children and adolescents firstly to prevent dental caries and to older individuals to improve periodontal health. The use of different approximal cleaning aids on a daily basis varied with respect to age group (2% to 42%); dental floss dominated in the younger age groups and interdental brushes in the two oldest groups. In the clinical study, the largest plaque reduction was produced by the interdental brush (83%), followed by toothpicks (74%) and dental floss (73%). Conclusions: The present study indicated the importance of individual recommendations related to the use of approximal cleaning aids.
Keywords: approximal caries, choice of products, interproximal cleaning aids, oral hygiene, questionnaire, self-care practices