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Health Behavior Research and Oral Health

  • Helen C. Gift
  • B. Alexander White

Abstract

For over four decades, health behavior research has been an important tool in understanding the actions of dental practitioners, patients, and administrators of oral health services. Early investigations of fluoridation of public water supplies provided information on health behaviors of organizers and policy makers at the community level. Following World Wa. II., there was increased interest in the characteristics of dentists and their practice activities and in the impact of practitioner behavior on oral health status, access, and cost. With the increasing availability of additional preventive strategies, such as topical fluoride applications and dental sealants, compliance with these new regimens on the part of the public, patients, and health care professionals was the object of considerable behavioral research (Richards & Cohen, 1971). The evolution of the profession from a treatment to a prevention orientation in the 1960s and 1970s brought increased interest in the organization of dental practices and the types of services provided, the employment of dental hygienists and auxiliary personnel, and dentist-patient interactions. Concurrently, as the population of the United States increased, there was a surge of interest in estimating the size and composition of the dental workforce. This increasing interest resulted in other thrusts for behavior research: understanding what type of health professional was attracted to dentistry, training the ideal dentist, assuring that appropriate practice strategies were developed and used, and expanding the function of dental auxiliaries.

Keywords

Oral Health Oral Hygiene Dental Care Dental Service Oral Disease 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen C. Gift
    • 1
  • B. Alexander White
    • 2
  1. 1.National Institute of Dental ResearchNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Kaiser PermanentePortlandUSA

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