Over the last decade evidence-based practice has become increasingly important in health care as an approach to improve patient outcomes. It is vital that dental hygienists, like other health professionals, use research findings to inform clinical practice. The objective of the present study was to investigate the extent of research utilization among dental hygienists in Sweden and to investigate the relationship between level of education and factors related to research utilization. A random sample of 261 dental hygienists in Sweden, 113 with 1 year and 148 with 2-year education, responded to a postal questionnaire covering various aspects of research utilization, i.e. their attitudes towards research, availability and support for the implementation of research findings, use of research in daily practice, their activity in seeking new research findings and their participation in a range of research-related activities. Dental hygienists with 2-year education had a more positive attitude towards research, used research to a greater extent and were more active in seeking new research findings than dental hygienists with 1-year education. Overall, relatively few dental hygienists reported that they implemented research findings in practice; the most frequently reported activity concerned reading research articles in professional journals. The conclusions are that the length of dental hygiene education is a key factor influencing the application of research findings to practice. One-year education appears to be inadequate to achieve evidence-based practice. Moreover, not even two years of formal education guarantees necessary competence in research for evidence-based dental hygiene practice.