June 2013

Volume 30, Issue 2

Automated coaching to help parents increase their children’s brushing frequency: an exploratory trial

Authors: R. Hurling J-P. Claessen J. Nicholson F. Schäfer C.C. Tomlin C.F. Lowe
doi: 10.1922/CDH_3035Hurling06

Abstract

Advances in digital communication, such as the internet, now provide a cost effective channel to reach and help families struggling to establish good oral hygiene in their homes. This paper describes a novel internet based oral hygiene intervention whose design draws from advances in social cognitive models of behaviour change. Intervention components included role-modelling cartoons for children, a guide for parents on using rewards, a personalised plan with clear steps, tips to follow and a weekly 10-minute review of progress. Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of the online coaching programme; specifically we expected that those in the intervention group would brush their teeth more frequently during the intervention period than those in the control group. Basic research design: An exploratory trial using a randomised controlled parallel approach. Participants: Children aged 5 to 9 years from 44 families (23 control and 21 intervention). Main outcome measure: An objective monitoring of tooth brushing. Results: In the 3-week intervention period, children from families assigned to the coaching programme brushed their teeth 38% more often than those in the control group. Conclusions: The programme was effective in a number of respects. Opportunities for further research are discussed, including the need to create a more engaging system and so increase compliance. Key words: oral hygiene, internet, behavior, pilot projects, intervention studies, cellular phone, mobile phone

£10 single article

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