(i) To test whether theory-guided interventions are more effective than conventional dental instruction (CDI) for changing oral hygiene in adolescents and (ii) to examine whether such interventions equally benefit both genders and different socio-economic (SES) groups.
A total of 244 adolescents were recruited from three schools, and cluster randomization allocated adolescents to one of the three types of interventions: two were theory-based interventions (Precaution Adoption Process Model or Authoritative Parenting Model) and CDI served as an active control. Oral hygiene levels % (OH) were assessed at baseline, after 3 months and after 12 months.
A complete data set was available for 166 adolescents (the total follow-up rate: 69%). There were no significant differences in baseline OH between those who participated throughout the study and those who dropped out. Bivariate and multivariate analyses showed that theory-guided interventions produced significant improvements in oral hygiene and that there were no significant gender or socio-economic differences.
Theory-guided interventions produced more positive changes in OH than CDI, and these changes did not differ between gender and SES groups.