Impact of Motivational Interviewing on Parental Risk‑Related Behaviors and Knowledge of Early Childhood Caries: A Systematic Review

Shiva Mortazavi, Azam Kazemi, Reyhaneh Faghihian


Background: Behavior is important in dental disease etiology, so behavioral interventions are needed for prevention and treatment. Motivational interviewing (MI) has been proposed as a potentially useful behavioral intervention for prevention of early childhood caries. Methods: Studies have evaluated the effectiveness of MI on reduction of the risk‑related behaviors for early childhood caries (ECC) compared to dental health education (DHE) The aim of this systematic review was to assess the scientific evidence on MI applied to change parental risk‑related behaviors. The potentially eligible studies involved the assessment of caries‑related behaviors in caregivers receiving MI. Electronic search of English published literature was performed in February 2020 in the Scopus, Cochrane, PubMed, and Embase databases. Assessment of risk of bias was done by the Cochrane risk of bias tool. Results: Of 329 articles retrieved initially, seven were eligible for inclusion in this review. Four studies evaluated the behavior of tooth brushing and four studies assessed the cariogenic feeding practice, while only one study investigated the behavior of checking teeth for pre‑cavities. Moreover, two studies examined dental attendance for varnish fluoride use and oral health‑related knowledge. It was not possible to perform a meta‑analysis. Conclusions: Generally, results support the application of MI to improve the “dental attendance behavior for fluoride use” and participants’ knowledge. However, the results were inconclusive for other behaviors. We need further and better designed interventions to completely evaluate the impact of MI on specific ECC‑related behaviors.


Behavior; dental caries; motivational Interviewing; risk

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