Oral Hygiene TIPPS

Oral Hygiene TIPPS is modelled on patient behaviour change strategies which have been shown to be effective at improving oral hygiene behaviour when carried out in primary care. A video which illustrates the use of this strategy is available.

This intervention is based on behavioural theory and aims to make patients feel more confident in their ability to perform effective plaque removal and help them plan how and when they will look after their teeth and gums. This may involve identifying a trigger which will remind patients to perform oral hygiene tasks, for example, to brush their teeth and to floss before going to bed. The intervention can be delivered by any suitably qualified member of the dental team and should be followed up and built upon at each return appointment.

  • Use the Oral Hygiene TIPPS behaviour change strategy to highlight the importance of effective plaque removal and to show the patient how they can achieve this.
    • TALK with the patient about the causes of periodontal disease and discuss any barriers to effective plaque removal. This visual aid may help you explain the stages of periodontal disease
    • INSTRUCT the patient on the best ways to perform effective plaque removal
    • Ask the patient to PRACTISE cleaning his/her teeth and to use the interdental cleaning aids whilst in the dental surgery
    • Put in place a PLAN which specifies how the patient will incorporate oral hygiene into daily life
    • Provide SUPPORT to the patient by following-up at subsequent visits
  • Raise the issue of stopping smoking, where appropriate.
    • Discuss the effect smoking has on oral and general health and the benefits of stopping. Refer to this smoking cessation brief intervention
    • Offer information on local smoking cessation services
  • Encourage patients to modify other lifestyle factors which may impact on their oral and general health such as:
    • diet
    • physical activity
    • alcohol consumption

Each session of advice will take several minutes to deliver, depending on the patient. It is important to gauge the level of understanding of the patient and adjust your communication style and method to suit them. The best way of delivering the advice is to include a ‘hands-on’ demonstration of plaque removal techniques and for the patient to practise in front of the clinician. However, it is important to ensure that you have the patient’s consent to proceed.