Research in dental health education and health promotion: a review of the literature

Health Educ Q. 1994 Spring;21(1):83-102. doi: 10.1177/109019819402100109.


This article presents a review of research in dental health education and health promotion. In the period 1982 to 1992, a total of 57 studies evaluating the effectiveness of interventions to alter individuals' behavior related to dental health were identified. Combining the results of these 57 studies with descriptive articles published over the same period, it appears that dental health education can result in improvements in objective measures of dental health behaviors and actual oral health measures, but has only limited success in changing attitudes towards dental issues and achieves only short-term gains in knowledge. The limited use of theoretical frameworks, poor statistical analyses, the use of convenient samples and the short post-intervention follow-up periods diminish the contribution of this research to the development of dental health policy and the formation of strategies to improve the health of communities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DMF Index
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education, Dental / methods*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Research