Aim: Aim was to systematically review behavioural aspects in the prevention and control of dental caries and periodontal diseases at individual and population level.
Material & methods: With regard to caries, MEDLINE/PubMed was searched on three subheadings focusing on early childhood, proximal and root caries. For periodontal diseases, a meta-review on systematic reviews was performed; thus, the search strategy included specific interventions to change behaviour in order to perform a meta-review on systematic reviews. After extraction of data and conclusions, the potential risk of bias was estimated and the emerging evidence was graded.
Results: Regarding early childhood, proximal and root caries, 28, 6 and 0 papers, respectively, could be included, which predominantly reported on cohort studies. Regarding periodontal diseases, five systematic reviews were included. High evidence of mostly high magnitude was retrieved for behavioural interventions in early childhood caries (ECC), weak evidence for a small effect in proximal caries and an unclear effect of specific informational/motivational programmes on prevention of periodontal diseases and no evidence of root caries.
Conclusion: Early childhood caries can be successfully prevented by population-based preventive programmes via aiming at the change in behaviour. The effect of individual specific motivational/informational interventions has not yet been clearly demonstrated neither for the prevention of caries nor for periodontal diseases.
Keywords: dental caries; motivation; periodontal disease; prevention; social behaviour.
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