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J Dent Hyg. 2004 Summer;78(3):6.

Health behavior models and oral health: a review.

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  • 1Indian Health Service, Gallup.


Dental hygienists help their clients develop health promoting behaviors, by providing essential information about general health, and oral health in particular. Individual health practices such as oral self-care are based on personal choices. The guiding principles found in health behavior models provide useful methods to the oral health care providers in promoting effective individual client behaviors. Theories provide explanations about observable facts in a systematic manner. Research regarding health behavior has explored the effectiveness and applicability of various health models in oral health behavior modification. The Health Belief Model, Transtheoretical Model and Stages of Change, Theory of Reasoned Action, Self-Efficacy, Locus of Control, and Sense of Coherence are examples of models that focus on individuals assuming responsibility for their own health. Understanding the strengths of each and their applicability to health behaviors is critical for oral health care providers who work with patients to adopt methods and modify behaviors that contribute to good oral health. This paper describes health behavior models that have been applied to oral health education, presents a critical analysis of the effectiveness of each model in oral health education, and provides examples of application to oral health education.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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