OBJECTIVE: To investigate the oral hygiene habits of Brazilian adolescents and their relation with gender and socioeconomic status. METHODS: Secondary data analyzed were from a cross-sectional study using self-completion questionnaires among 664 15-year-old schoolchildren randomly selected from public and private schools and their mothers, in Goiânia-GO, Brazil. RESULTS: 51.8% of the sample comprised girls and 48.2% boys; 48.9% were from a high social class and 51.1% from a low social class. All adolescents said they cleaned their teeth. The main reasons were related to health (73.5%) and cleanliness (40.2%). Reasons varied by gender (p<0.001) and socioeconomic status (p<0.05). Most adolescents said they brushed their teeth three times or more a day (77.7%). The most common oral hygiene aids were toothbrush (97.6%), toothpaste (90.5%) and dental floss (69.1%). Females brushed their teeth with higher frequency than males (p=0.001). Main brushing times were after lunch (80.3%), before breakfast (73.5%) and before going to sleep (62.5%). Most adolescents (82.7%) said they did not need to be reminded to brush. Significantly, more males than females said they needed to be reminded (p=0.017). Mothers were the main person to remind them to brush (66.1%) and the person who gave them their first instructions on the importance of teeth cleaning (81.3%). CONCLUSIONS: Brazilian adolescents reported appropriate hygiene habits. Habits were influenced by gender and socioeconomic status.
Habits; Oral hygiene; Adolescents; Sex; Socioeconomic status