Health Coaching-Based Interventions for Oral Health Promotion: A Scoping Review

Dent J (Basel). 2023 Mar 6;11(3):73. doi: 10.3390/dj11030073.


Background: Health coaching-based interventions can support behaviour change to improve oral health. This scoping review aims to identify key characteristics of health coaching-based interventions for oral health promotion.

Methods: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews checklist and the Joanna Briggs Institute manual for evidence synthesis were used in this review. A search strategy using medical subject heading terms and keywords was developed and applied to search the following databases: CINAHL, Ovid, PubMed, Cochrane Library and Scopus. Thematic analysis was used to synthesise the data.

Results: Twenty-three studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review. These studies were predominantly based on health coaching and motivational interviewing interventions applied to oral health promotion. The following are the characteristics of health coaching-based interventions extracted from themes of the included studies: (a) Health professionals should be trained on the usage of motivational interviewing/health coaching interventions; (b) oral health professionals should acquire motivational techniques in their practice to engage patients and avoid criticisms during the behaviour change process; (c) routine brief motivational interviewing/health coaching intervention sessions should be introduced in dental clinics; (d) traditional oral health education methods should be supplemented with individually tailored communication; and (e) for cost-effectiveness purposes, motivational interviewing/health coaching strategies should be considered.

Conclusions: This scoping review reveals that health coaching-based techniques of health coaching and motivational interviewing can significantly impact oral health outcomes and behaviour change and can improve oral health professional-patient communication. This calls for the use of health coaching-based techniques by dental teams in community and clinical settings. This review highlights gaps in the literature, suggesting the need for more research on health coaching-based intervention strategies for oral health promotion.

Keywords: behaviour change; communication; health coaching; health education; intervention; motivational interviewing; oral health; oral health promotion; person-centred care.

Publication types

  • Review

Grant support

This scoping review study did not receive any funding. However, it complements part of the study awarded by Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) to train oral health professionals in primary dental care Malawi on health coaching skills. The awarded proposal was entitled Effectiveness of the Health Coaching model for primary prevention of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Malawi.