Application of self-regulation theory and motivational interview for improving oral hygiene: a randomized controlled trial

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Because patient adherence to oral hygiene is essential for periodontal treatment success, the aim of the study was to assess whether a motivational interview addressing the five dimensions of Leventhal's theory performed better than conventional basic instruction on improving compliance with plaque control among patients with periodontitis.

Materials and Methods

A randomized controlled clinical trial design was used in which a group of patients underwent a motivational interview in addition to classical consultation. A control group received only the standard consultation. The O'Leary Plaque Index was used to judge the oral hygiene at baseline and at 1 month follow-up. Patient satisfaction with the dental visit was scored using a specific questionnaire.


At baseline, the mean full mouth plaque score varied between 55% (experimental group) and 58% (control group). Patients in the experimental group had a higher oral hygiene improvement (21 ± 20% versus 4 ± 5%, p < 0.001) 1 month post-treatment. The motivational interview resulted in greater satisfaction scores compared with those of patients in the control group: 10.55 ± 1.53 versus 8.82 ± 2.40, p = 0.014.


This new concept of motivational interview is a promising approach and can be useful for counselling-related periodontal disorders.

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