Hand hygiene is part of standard precautions and it has been emphasized that education of this practice depends on the individual’s experience in general hygiene. The Hygiene Inventory (HI-23) assess the domains General Hygiene, in the fields of Hands, Personal, Household and Food. Aim: To make the transcultural adaptation of the HI-23 scale for Portuguese–Brazil and to investigate and describe the hygiene behavior according to the HI-23 scale among dental students. Material and Methods: The cross-cultural adaptation process consisted in five steps: two translations, two back translations, review committee, pre-test with a population sample, and reproducibility and reliability of the instrument adapted. For the intra-examiner reproducibility it was applied kappa statistics. The statistical Cronbach's alpha verified the reliability of the HI-23 scale adapted to Portuguese. The adapted instrument was applied to 292 students of Dentistry from 1st to 5th year of graduation from a Faculty of Dentistry. Results: There was good reproducibility (0.43≥k≥0.81) and good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha=0.75) for the questions of the questionnaire. The adapted instrument applied among academics, showed that students have good and adequate hygiene pattern for most questions, except for the hygiene in the preparation of food and utensils used to prepare them, in the time spent washing hands, and cleanliness regarding the exchange of clothing (pants/skirt). Conclusion: The transcultural adaptation of the instrument for the Brazilian version was successfully obtained. The instrument can be safely applied to measure the profile of hygiene among professional of the health area.