IFDH Oral Hygiene Instruction Practices Survey

oral health practices

In May 2023, the IFDH fielded a survey to better understand global Dental Hygienists’ Oral Hygiene Instruction (OHI) practices. This was the 8th in a series of surveys to help identify opportunities for future educational programs. See the PowerPoint summary and PDF file at the bottom of this page.


The survey was sent to 34 national associations. There were 231 respondents, representing 26 countries. The top 10 countries with respondents were:

  • Canada 15%
  • South Africa 11%
  • Ireland 9%
  • Korea 9%
  • Australia 7%
  • Norway 7%
  • United States 7%
  • United Kingdom   6%
  • Israel               5%
  • Sweden           4%

Respondents were well balanced across years of practicing dental hygiene.

  • 64% of respondents reported having a Bachelor’s degree or Diploma
  • 55% work in a private practice setting
  • 10% are in an independent dental hygiene practice.

Topline Results

  • 68% rate their practice as Excellent or Very Good at prioritizing OHI. Reasons for those who gave a Fair or Poor rating included: lack of allocated time, not a dental team priority, and lack of reimbursement for OHI.
  • Respondents spend 5 to 10 minutes, on average, providing OHI per patient at each appointment.
  • The top 3 OHI practices (% who practice weekly) are:
    1. Demonstrating proper oral hygiene (e.g., brushing, interdental cleaning) technique
       to the patient. (87%)
    2. Giving patients product samples to use at home. (82%)
    3. Making general recommendations for self-care products (e.g., fluoride toothpaste). (82%)
  • Respondents indicate there are numerous benefits for patients, dental hygienists/therapists, and practice owners when OHI is prioritized.
  • 88% of respondents agree that giving patients samples of effective self-care products is an important part of OHI.
  • 81% of respondents agree that it’s more important to make specific, evidence-based recommendations for self-care than to tell patients to use any product they like.
  • 65% agree that power toothbrushes should be an integral part of OHI.
  • 30% of respondents indicate they don’t have enough time to provide thorough OHI to their patients.

More results are available in the PowerPoint summary and PDF file below:

We would like to thank the respondents for taking time to complete the survey. The information is very useful and will help guide future educational learning opportunities.

The IFDH thanks Procter & Gamble (Crest/Oral-B) for supporting this project.

Proctor & Gamble