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Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2006 Dec;34(6):419-28.

Oral health counselling in changing schoolchildren's oral hygiene habits: a qualitative study.

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Research Center for Health Promotion, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.



This study explored oral health counselling concerning changes of oral hygiene habits in 11- to 13-year-old schoolchildren within a theoretical framework of the transtheoretical model and the motivational interview.


The follow-up data (2002-2003) formed two sequential parts: the first part comprised 66 counselling sessions in 2002; the second part included 31 counselling sessions in 2003. Thirty-one (n = 31) schoolchildren were included in the counselling sessions that were conducted by four dental hygienists. The audiotaped and transcribed data were analysed qualitatively by using content analysis.


In 2002, nearly every schoolchild needed to establish changes in oral hygiene habits but the assessment of schoolchildren's readiness for change often remained unclear. In 2002, giving normative advice was the most commonly used counselling strategy when addressing the need for change, but dental hygienist-centred change discussion and goal setting were also apparent and were related to the schoolchildren's rarely manifested changes of oral hygiene habits after a follow-up year.


Our results suggest that the theoretical framework might be useful in constructing and focusing on oral hygiene counselling for schoolchildren that concentrates on the personal dynamics of change. Further qualitative research is called for.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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