Purpose: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the pattern of fluoride-containing dentifrice use and associated factors in Brazilian preschoolers. Materials and Methods: A structured questionnaire was answered by parents of 432 children, who were aged 2 to 6 years, from 12 public preschools in Ijuí, South Brazil. Primary outcomes were age of starting fluoride-containing dentifrice use and amount of dentifrice applied to the toothbrush. Poisson regression with robust variance was used to determine the factors associated with the main outcomes. Results: About 75% of the participants were introduced to fluoride-containing dentifrice before the age of 2 years. The current predominant amount of dentifrice used was obtained by transversal (57.7%), followed by longitudinal deposition on the toothbrush (33.6%), corresponding to 0.3 and 0.9 g of dentifrice, respectively. Previous dental visits and maternal education greater than 4 years were associated with the introduction of fluoride-containing dentifrice before 2 years of age. The probability of using dentifrice in amounts higher than the recommendations doubled in children aged 5 and 6 years. Conclusions: Oral health interventions should reinforce the importance of early introduction of fluoride-containing dentifrice, especially in less-educated mothers. Furthermore, the amount of dentifrice should be reduced to maximise the caries-preventive effect while minimising dental fluorosis.
Keywords: dental caries, dental fluorosis, dental visits, dentifrice, fluoride