Conclusion

Dental practitioners receive little training in how to educate adult learners. As a result, the methods routinely employed in the dental office may not result in the desired oral health behavior changes. Providers tend to educate patients in the same way they were educated, which assumes patients come to them with a ‘blank slate’ and the dental practitioner is the ‘expert.’ By utilizing adult learning principles, which include recognizing prior experience, assessing readiness to learn or change, ensuring that information is personally relevant to the patient, assessing the patient’s locus of control and supporting patient autonomy, dental professionals can be more effective in educating adult patients.