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Habits, Practices and Beliefs Regarding Floss and Mouthrinse among Habitual and Non-Habitual Users

Habits, Practices and Beliefs Regarding Floss and Mouthrinse among Habitual and Non-Habitual Users

Purpose:The purpose of this survey was to investigate how flossing and rinsing behaviors impact individual beliefs about oral disease risk, the efficacy of floss and mouthrinse, and the perceived benefits and barriers of floss and mouthrinse.Methods:Participants in this required component of a 12-week plaque and gingivitis randomized clinical trial on flossing and rinsing regimens completed a paper questionnaire prior to randomization and baseline/screening measurements.Results:All of the clinical trial participants (n=213) completed the questionnaire. Respondents were grouped as habitual or non-habitual users of floss or mouthrinse if the product was used at least once daily; 16% (n=34) were habitual users of floss and 17% (n=36) were habitual users of mouthrinse. Perceived barriers included fear of gingival bleeding and pain, forgetting, and not including flossing or rinsing as part of the daily oral care routine. Non-habitual users were less likely to believe in the intangible benefits of flossing or rinsing and much more likely to perceive barriers to using floss or mouthrinse. Risk perception of developing oral disease was not shown to predict product usage. Respondents viewed their risk of developing gingivitis as relatively low despite this diagnosis being confirmed clinically among the participants.Conclusions:While respondents strongly believed that brushing, flossing, and mouthrinse use carry unique benefits and that combining all three methods would be optimal, these respondents still had high perceived barriers to using floss and mouthrinse regularly and consequently these habits were not included in their daily oral hygiene regimen. Understanding the perceptions regarding oral health behaviors may help drive more effective interventions and assist practitioners in improving their patients’ oral health outcomes.

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