Determining Liverpool adolescents' beliefs and attitudes in relation to oral health

Health Educ Res. 2006 Apr;21(2):192-205. doi: 10.1093/her/cyh055. Epub 2005 Sep 28.


Poor oral health is an important public health issue. Adolescents represent a challenging group in terms of oral health because they have vulnerable permanent teeth erupting at a time when they are establishing their independence from parental influence. Preventing oral disease by attempting to influence the behaviours that impact adversely on oral health requires an understanding of the attitudes and beliefs that underpin those behaviours. Very few studies have investigated adolescents' attitudes and beliefs in relation to dental issues. This study aimed to examine the attitudes and beliefs of adolescents towards dentistry and oral disease in order to inform future health promotion interventions. Data were collected through focus groups involving 22 13- to 14-year olds from selected secondary schools in Liverpool. A thematic analysis was applied to the data. The themes identified illustrated the attitudes and beliefs of adolescents in relation to oral health and demonstrated how adolescents justify and personally operationalize these attitudes and beliefs. A need to encourage this group to take action to perform oral health behaviours was demonstrated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude to Health*
  • England
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Oral Health*