Effects of a short behavioural intervention for dental flossing: randomized-controlled trial on planning when, where and how

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Regular dental flossing has been widely recommended to prevent periodontal diseases. Nevertheless, compliance is below a desirable level. This study evaluates the effects of a brief behavioural intervention on dental flossing and determines whether the effects of such an intervention are stronger in a specific subgroup of individuals (those intending to floss regularly=implemental mindset).

Materials and Method:

Behavioural intervention (planning when, where and how to floss) trial was conducting with 194 participants assigned to an intervention or a control group by a random time schedule; the primary outcome was validated self-report of flossing behaviour. Follow-up data were collected 2 and 8 weeks post-intervention.


Individuals receiving the planning intervention significantly outperformed those in the control condition at both the 2- and the 8-week follow-up (4.24 times flossing/week versus 3.9 at 2 weeks; 4.02 versus 2.98 at 8 weeks). Intervention effects were stronger in individuals in the implemental mindset. Dropout rates were higher for participants who received the planning intervention but were not in the implemental mindset.


Planning interventions are an economic and effective way to change oral self-care behaviour, and are more effective in individuals in an implemental mindset.

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