The health belief model and determinants of oral hygiene practices and beliefs in preteen children: A pilot study

Kimberly Walker, Richard Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: There is limited understanding of children's behavioral decisions for practicing good oral hygiene. The purpose of this study was to identify factors that may motivate children to practice good oral hygiene. Methods: Guided by the Health Belief Model (HBM), eight focus groups of 42 American children (second through fifth graders) were interviewed concerning their histories with caries, perceived confidence in brushing, self-perceived susceptibility and vulnerability for caries and/or poor oral health, and perceived benefits and barriers to practicing oral hygiene. Results: Most children eguated good oral health as being central to their overall health; however, some viewed poor oral health as occurring only in the elderly while others believed poor oral health could begin at any age. Children cited esthetic appearance of teeth and the desire to please others by brushing without reminders as motivators of good oral hygiene. The greatest barriers to performing oral hygiene were a perceived lack of time and limited access to toothbrushes and dentifrice when away. Conclusions: To motivate children in this age range, emphasis should be placed on the positive aspects of maintaining good oral hygiene for its contribution to appearance and its implication for an overall healthy body and self-image.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-45
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric dentistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015



  • Adolescents
  • Attitude toward health
  • Oral hygiene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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