Motivational interviewing showed greater short-term improvement in plaque control

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Good oral hygiene is important for the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease. 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.

Patients were randomised to receive either a standard consultation of  standard consultation with motivational interview.  Oral hygiene at baseline and at 1 month follow-up was assessed using the O’Leary Plaque Index. Patient satisfaction with the dental visit being scored using a specific questionnaire.

They found

  • The mean full mouth plaque score varied between 55% (experimental group) and 58% (control group) at baseline
  • A  greater improvement in oral hygiene in the experimental (21 ± 20% versus 4 ± 5%, p < 0.001) 1 month post-treatment.
  • The motivational interview group had better satisfaction scores that the control group 10.55 ± 1.53 versus 8.82 ± 2.40, p = 0.014.

The authors concluded

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

Godard A, Dufour T, Jeanne S. Application of self-regulation theory and motivational interview for improving oral hygiene: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Periodontol. 2011 Sep 6. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051X.2011.01782.x. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 22092542.


The abstract gives no indication of the number of patients involved in this trial and there is a large variation in the improvement in the experimental group.  As the study is only of one months duration the long term effect of the intervention cannot be determined.

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