Background: Oral hygiene maintenance is a crucial and integral feature in determining the overall wellbeing of a person. It has been established that interventions for health promotion at the public health level derived from theoretical models based on social and behavioural sciences have a superior effectiveness as compared to the ones without a theoretical background. Hence a novel behavioral model known as the multi-theory model (MTM) was used to understand two important aspects of health behavior change: (i) Initiation and (ii) Sustenance in twice daily teeth brushing in a university setting with objectives to identify factors effecting MTM in initiation and sustenance of twice daily brushing behavior among students pursuing health sciences and correlating the MTM theory with socio-demographic and behavioral patterns.
Methods: The study is an analytical cross-sectional study. Students pursuing Medicine and Dentistry in a University setting were included. A validated questionnaire was designed for this study. Questions were framed to evaluate the constructs of initiation and sustenance of MTM, personality, sleeping habits and demographic corelates of participants. Multiple means between the groups were compared using analysis of variance and a post hoc test. Correlation was established between different domains, the items were then entered for hierarchical multiple regression.
Results: Of the 235 participants in the study, 229 completed the questionnaire. There was a significant association between brushing quartiles, professional streams (p<0.001) and academic performance (p<0.001). The hierarchical multiple regression revealed that at stage one, behavioral confidence contributed significantly to the regression model (F (1,227) = 33.227, p<0.001) and accounted for 12.4% of the variation in twice daily brushing.
Conclusion: MTM is a good tool in predicting the initiation and sustenance of twice daily brushing behavior among young adults and can form a useful tool in assessing the patterns of brushing behavior in a population.