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Oral hygiene instruction is an intervention widely practiced but increased knowledge about oral health does not necessarily dramatically impact oral disease prevalence in populations. We aimed to measure plaque and bleeding in periodontal patients over time to determine patterns of patient response to oral hygiene instructions.
Longitudinal plaque and bleeding index data were evaluated in 227 periodontal patients to determine the impact of oral hygiene instructions. Over multiple visits, we determined relative plaque accumulation and gingival bleeding for each patient. Subsequently, we grouped them in three types of oral hygiene status in response to initial instructions, using the longitudinal data over the period they were treated and followed for their periodontal needs. These patterns of oral hygiene based on the plaque and gingival bleeding indexes were evaluated based on age, sex, ethnic background, interleukin 1 alpha and beta genotypes, diabetes status, smoking habits, and other concomitant diseases. Chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests were used to determine if any differences between these variables were statistically significant with alpha set at 0.05.
Three patterns in response to oral hygiene instructions emerged. Plaque and gingival bleeding indexes improved, worsened, or fluctuated over time in the periodontal patients studied. Out of all the confounders considered, only ethnic background showed statistically significant differences. White individuals more often than other ethnic groups fluctuated in regards to oral hygiene quality after instructions.
There are different responses to professional oral hygiene instructions. These responses may be related to ethnicity.