Set Specific Goals

Studies show that it is important to set clear goals with a patient to help behavior change occur.2,6,7 Statements like, “You need to brush better” could be unclear because the patient is left not knowing exactly what this means and why they need to do it. Instead, it is advised that a dental professional follow these three goal-setting guidelines:

  • Give the patient a personally relevant reason for taking the health-promoting action – such as, “I can tell you how to stop this white-spot lesion from becoming a hole and causing the need for a new filling.”
  • Make it clear what is to be achieved – such as, “Try to stop drinking sodas and snacking on candies throughout the day.”
  • Suggest a tip that helps the goal to be achieved – such as, “Why not have your sweets only at mealtimes?”3,7