BACKGROUND: There is a recognized need to deliver oral health information to people during clinical encounters to enable them to develop personal skills in managing their own oral health. Traditional approaches to individual oral health education have been shown to be largely ineffective and new approaches are required to address personal motivations for preventive behaviour. This systematic review aims to identify and assess the effectiveness of behaviour models as a basis for individual oral health promotion. METHODS: Electronic databases were searched for articles evaluating the effectiveness of health behaviour models in oral and general health between 2000 and 2007. Eighty-nine studies were retrieved and data were extracted from the 32 studies that met the inclusion criteria. RESULTS: Thirty-two studies were identified in the fields of clinical prevention and health education, motivational interviewing (MI), counselling, and models based interventions. MI interventions were found to be the most effective method for altering health behaviours in a clinical setting. CONCLUSIONS: There is a need to develop an effective model for chairside oral health promotion that incorporates this evidence and allows oral health professionals to focus more on the underlying social determinants of oral disease during the clinical encounter. There is potential to further develop the MI approach within the oral health field.
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