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Effects of a short behavioural intervention for dental flossing: randomized-controlled trial on planning when, where and how


  • Conflict of interest and source of funding statement
    I declare that I have no proprietary, financial, professional, or other personal interest of any nature or kind in any product, service, and/or company that could be construed as influencing the position presented in this manuscript.
    This study was funded by a research grant from Oral-B Gillette, Germany.

Benjamin Schüz
Deutsches Zentrum für Altersfragen (German Centre of Gerontology)
Manfred-von-Richthofen-Str. 2
12101 Berlin


Aim: Regular dental flossing has been widely recommended to prevent periodontal diseases. Nevertheless, compliance is below a desirable level. This study evaluates the effects of a brief behavioural intervention on dental flossing and determines whether the effects of such an intervention are stronger in a specific subgroup of individuals (those intending to floss regularly=implemental mindset).

Materials and Method: Behavioural intervention (planning when, where and how to floss) trial was conducting with 194 participants assigned to an intervention or a control group by a random time schedule; the primary outcome was validated self-report of flossing behaviour. Follow-up data were collected 2 and 8 weeks post-intervention.

Results: Individuals receiving the planning intervention significantly outperformed those in the control condition at both the 2- and the 8-week follow-up (4.24 times flossing/week versus 3.9 at 2 weeks; 4.02 versus 2.98 at 8 weeks). Intervention effects were stronger in individuals in the implemental mindset. Dropout rates were higher for participants who received the planning intervention but were not in the implemental mindset.

Conclusion: Planning interventions are an economic and effective way to change oral self-care behaviour, and are more effective in individuals in an implemental mindset.