Researchers in Japan have found that the patients who are most likely to schedule a dental check-up are those who understand the benefit of check-ups in preventing disease and those who have existing positive oral health behaviours.
Evaluations included an oral examination and questionnaire that went beyond enquiring about oral health status and behaviours to asking about participants’ willingness to improve their overall health according to a particular health belief model, as well as their response to a risk aversion scenario.
The results indicated that when the participants were more likely to see themselves facing a risk of a negative health outcome in addition to seeing a clear benefit, they were more motivated to engage in preventive health actions. The researchers also found a significant positive association between willingness to have a dental check-up and the oral health behaviours of flossing or using interdental brushes.
The team suggested that the correlation was due to self-efficacy, a concept in the health model that deals with confidence that one can take the actions necessary for producing a certain outcome. It would be expected that risk aversion would drive people to adopt healthy behaviours; however, risk aversion was not demonstrated to be a factor in scheduling dental check-ups.
The study, titled ‘The impact of oral health behaviours, health belief model, and absolute risk aversion on the willingness of Japanese university students to undergo regular dental check-ups: A cross-sectional study’, was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.