Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Assessment of oral self-care in patients with periodontitis: a pilot study in a dental school clinic in Japan

Atsushi Saito1*, Momomi Kikuchi1, Fumie Ueshima2, Shinya Matsumoto1, Hiroki Hayakawa1, Hitomi Masuda2 and Takemi Makiishi1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Oral Health Science, Tokyo Dental College, 2-9-18 Misaki-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 101-0061 Japan

2 Section of Dental Hygiene, Suidobashi Hospital, Tokyo Dental College, 2-9-18 Misaki-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 101-0061 Japan

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BMC Oral Health 2009, 9:27  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-9-27

Published: 29 October 2009



Oral hygiene education is central to every stage of periodontal treatment. Successful management of periodontal disease depends on the patient's capacity for oral self-care. In the present study, the oral self-care and perceptions of patients attending a dental school clinic in Japan were assessed using a short questionnaire referring to existing oral health models.


A cross-sectional study design was used. The study population consisted of sixty-five patients (age range 23-77) with chronic periodontitis. The pre-tested 19-item questionnaire comprised 3 domains; 1) oral hygiene, 2) dietary habits and 3) perception of oral condition. The questionnaire was used as a part of the comprehensive assessment.


Analyses of the assessment data revealed no major problems with the respondents' perceived oral hygiene habits, although their actual plaque control levels were not entirely adequate. Most of the respondents acknowledged the importance of prevention of dental caries and periodontal diseases, but less than one third of them were regular users of the dental care system. Twenty-five percent of the respondents were considered to be reluctant to change their daily routines, and 29% had doubts about the impact of their own actions on oral health. Analyzing the relationships between patient responses and oral hygiene status, factors like 'frequency of tooth brushing', 'approximal cleaning', 'dental check-up' and 'compliance with self-care advice' showed statistically significant associations (P < 0.05) with the plaque scores.


The clinical utilization of the present questionnaire facilitates the inclusion of multiple aspects of patient information, before initiation of periodontal treatment. The significant associations that were found between some of the self-care behaviors and oral hygiene levels document the important role of patient-centered oral health assessment in periodontal care.