Finland falling behind with dental hygiene, studies suggest
Finland is a nation most people associate with good health and an effective healthcare system, but studies suggest that the Scandinavian country is lagging behind when it comes to dental hygiene.
According to a World Health Organisation report entitled ‘Growing up unequal: Health behaviour in school-aged children,’ just over half of Finnish men and 80% of women aged over 30 brush their teeth twice a day. The statistics are even worse for younger generations, with 55% of 15-year-old boys and 26% of girls skipping at least one cleaning session per day.
The study shows that Finland rates poorly when compared to other European countries. In Switzerland, 79% of boys and 91% of girls brush twice a day. The numbers are also much higher in the UK, Sweden, Germany and Norway.
Liisa Suominen, professor of oral health at the University of Eastern Finland, said that the results are surprising, especially as Pisa tests show that Finnish youngsters are more intelligent than the average child in Europe. Research suggests that bad habits in childhood and adolescence are likely to continue into adulthood, especially among males.
A study cited by Yle revealed the potential implications of poor oral hygiene, with rates of periodontitis, advanced gum disease, significantly higher in Finland than in Sweden and Norway. Sixty percent of Finnish adults have signs of advanced gum disease compared to 50% in Norway and 40% in Sweden.