Purpose: The aim of the present study was to identify the underlying patterns of oral cleaning habits and the use of fluoride, and to investigate their variations by studying the socioeconomic characteristics among Finnish dentate adults aged 30 to 64 years. Materials and Methods: Participants of the nationwide Health 2000 survey who were dentate, aged 30 to 64 years, and underwent a health interview and a clinical oral examination, were included in the present study (n = 4419). Results: In total, 79% of the women and 46% of the men reported to have brushed their teeth twice or more daily; 16% of the women and 14% of the men reported daily use of an electric toothbrush and 14% of the women and 5% of the men reported daily use of dental floss or an interdental brush. Factor analysis revealed five oral cleaning habit patterns, which were named modern, rational, before-breakfast, social and irrational. The modern cleaning pattern was associated with higher levels of education, and the rational cleaning with younger age, female gender and higher levels of education. The before-breakfast cleaning pattern was associated with male gender and lower levels of education, and the social cleaning with older age, female gender and higher levels of education. The irrational cleaning pattern was associated with older age. Conclusions: Adults have various oral cleaning habit patterns, each of which is associated with the subjects socioeconomic characteristics.
Keywords: dentate adults, oral cleaning habits, underlying habit patterns, use of fluoride