Background: Oral and dental diseases are among the most common diseases in the world that are usually initiated in childhood and adolescence. With risk factors like those of the other important non-contagious diseases, they cause pain, discomfort, deformity, and even death. As it is preventable, the promotion of the related care behaviors by identifying the effective factors is very important. Therefore, the present study aimed to determine the factors affecting oral health self-care behaviors in seventh-grade students in Behbahan city using the health belief model.
Method: This descriptive-analytical study was performed on 360 seventh-grade students in Behbahan city, Iran, through a two-stage cluster sampling. The data collection tool was a questionnaire designed based on the Health Belief Model and the DMFT checklist. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS software V. 20.
Results: The results showed that the mean DMFT index and students' performance score for oral health behaviors were 2.08 and 1.76, respectively. There was a significant difference between the two genders in terms of DMFT index and performance score (P = 0.007). In this study, there was a significant relationship between oral health behaviors and perceived sensitivity, perceived severity, perceived benefits, perceived barriers, cues to action, and self-efficacy. There was also an indirect and significant relationship between perceived barriers and behavior (r = 0.271, p = 0.001).
Conclusion: Based on the results of this study, the structures of the health belief model were effective on students' oral self-care behaviors. Therefore, it is recommended to focus on the mentioned structures to promote these behaviors.