Factors affecting the compliance of patients with preventive dental regimens

Int Dent J. 1993 Jun;43(3 Suppl 1):294-8.


The common dental problems of caries and periodontal disease can be controlled by patients who are prepared to adopt the appropriate dietary and oral hygiene behaviours. However compliance with dental surgery based health education programmes is often disappointing. The failure of these interventions is due to the fact that the majority of the dental profession are naive and have a rather insular approach to patient education. There are two key influences on the patient. First there is the 'macro environment' whereby behaviour is shaped by the norms on lifestyle which exist in a patient's social environment. Behaviour changes which are a variance with these norms will not be successful, therefore health education programmes must take cognisance of these norms. It may be necessary to change certain oral health behaviours slowly over an extended period of time. Second there is the 'micro environment' in the dental office. All too often patient education is unplanned, haphazard, not relevant to a particular patient and difficult to understand. Dental professionals should give prevention the same status as clinical care so that it is well planned and carefully evaluated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy
  • Dentist-Patient Relations
  • Diet, Cariogenic
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Health Education, Dental / methods*
  • Humans
  • Oral Hygiene / psychology*
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Social Conditions