Health promotion behaviors of private practice dental hygienists

J Dent Hyg. 1991 Jun;65(5):222-30.


Today, there is increased emphasis in oral healthcare on health promotion and disease prevention. This is consistent with the focus of the dental hygiene profession. The purpose of this study was to investigate the health promotion behaviors of private practice dental hygienists within the ADHA District X region (Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming). Statistical analysis procedures (frequencies, tests of statistical significance, and factor analysis) were performed on the questionnaire responses of 817 respondents who were employed in private practice settings. The results indicated that most respondents spent approximately five to 10 minutes on oral hygiene instruction (OHI) during a prophylaxis appointment, and focused on a variety of "traditional instructional" activities (e.g., discussing brushing and flossing, plaque control, caries, and periodontal disease). The majority of the respondents were satisfied with the amount of time they spent on OHI. When asked what factors limited the amount of time spent on OHI, the respondents most often cited "lack of interest on the part of the patient." Most respondents indicated there was no separate fee charged for OHI, even if separate OHI appointments were scheduled. The factor analysis indicated that some low-frequency behaviors (e.g., use of disclosants) were related more strongly to the concept of health promotion than were some high-frequency behaviors (e.g., use of a periodontal probe). The results of this study indicate that although health promotion services are provided frequently by dental hygienists, these services may not be provided consistently in the most effective way. Future research efforts could investigate the health promotion behaviors of private practice hygienists across the nation with a revised questionnaire to determine more adequately the status of these behaviors.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Binomial Distribution
  • Dental Hygienists*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Health Education, Dental*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Private Practice
  • Surveys and Questionnaires