Objectives: The aim of this study was to identify predictors of oral hygiene behavior based on the theory of planned behavior among dental care seekers in the Dominican Republic. In addition, measures of oral health knowledge and the expected social outcomes of having healthy teeth were examined. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 92 participants, who were visited by Dutch dental professionals from the Foundation Bocas Sanas Holanda-Maimón, completed voluntarily a culturally adapted questionnaire. The individuals' clinical oral health status was also assessed. Results: A regression analysis was used to model the prediction, and it accounted for 32.4% of the variance. Only attitude, social norms and perceived behavioral control emerged as significant predictors of the intention to perform adequate oral hygiene behavior. In these multivariate analyses, oral health knowledge and expected social outcomes of having healthy teeth were not related significantly to intention. Conclusions: This study illustrates how the theory of planned behavior may be used as a basis to design adequate interventions for people in developing and underdeveloped countries. Moreover, it also suggests that oral hygiene-related interventions aimed at improving oral hygiene behavior need to be specifically adjusted to or designed for the target population.
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