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J Dent Hyg. 2010 Winter;84(1):29-34. Epub 2010 Jan 1.

Motivational interviewing to decrease parental risk-related behaviors for early childhood caries.

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Department of Dental Hygiene, Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho, USA.



This small scale study examined if an individualized motivational interviewing (MI) approach to oral health education promoted positive changes in early childhood caries (ECC) risk-related behaviors of mothers enrolled in a Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program.


Seventy-two mothers were recruited to complete pretest and posttest questionnaires 4 weeks apart. Mothers in the treatment group (n=40) experienced a counseling type session (MI) and follow-up telephone calls to promote positive oral health behaviors.


No significant change was found in the 4 constructs measured: valuing dental health, permissiveness, convenience and change difficulty or openness to health information. Statistically significant positive changes were found in the treatment group only in number of times the children's teeth were cleaned or brushed (p=0.001) and the use of shared eating utensils (p=0.035). Other cariogenic feeding practices and use of sweets to reward or modify behavior were not significantly affected (p<0.05).


In this group of WIC mothers, MI appeared to have a modest impact on some high-risk parental behaviors that contribute to ECC. This approach warrants further investigation to assess impact of an extended intervention program, parents from diverse populations and the feasibility of use of peer counselors in the public health setting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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