Motivational interview is a promising approach for improving plaque control in patients with periodontal disease

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The aim of this study was to assess whether an original motivational interview addressing the five dimensions of Leventhal’s self-regulation theory performed better than conventional basic instruction to improve compliance with plaque control among patients with periodontitis.

Participants were randomly allocated to either an experimental group (motivational interview in addition  to standard treatment programme) or a control group (standard treatment programme). Plaque levels were assessed  at baseline and at one month using the O’Leary Plaque Index and patient satisfaction with the dental visit was scored using a specific questionnaire.

They found that:-

  • Patients in the experimental group had a higher oral hygiene improvement 1 month post-treatment (see table)
  • 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.

[table id=7 /]

The researchers concluded that

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; doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051X.2011.01782.x.

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Derek Richards

Derek Richards is a specialist in dental public health, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Dentistry and Specialist Advisor to the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) Development Team. A former editor of the Evidence-Based Dentistry Journal and chief blogger for the Dental Elf website until December 2023. Derek has been involved with a wide range of evidence-based initiatives both nationally and internationally since 1994. Derek retired from the NHS in 2019 remaining as a part-time senior lecturer at Dundee Dental School until the end of 2023.

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