OH NO, another oral health behaviour modification presentation! – ADOHTA 2021

OH NO, another oral health behaviour modification presentation!

Mario Rui Araujo

PhD, MPsych, BSc(DH), RDH

Patients may have reasons for changing, but they also have reasons for not doing so.
Our work as health professionals involves assuming the role of health educators and providing the tools that can contribute to this change. However, we might assume that if people were simply told what is good for them and what they need to protect their health, they would follow these instructions without question. However, the evidence tells us that it doesn’t happen that easily. The resilient reaction we hope for is not just the responsibility of patients – it depends in part on how we approach them. Accepting the fact that patients are not simply passive recipients of our recommendations, it is fundamental to build an evidence-based relationship around a set of strategies for behavioral change.
There are many authors who argue that communication is a weapon. From what I have experienced over a 30-year career in oral health, I would say: communication is therapeutic.
This is the story I want to share.


Mario has PhD in Psychology (2021) by the University of Lisbon (Psychology School) and a master degree in Health Psychology (1999).

His research in the area of behaviour change focuses in the use of different technologies to enhance the oral health behaviour of patients.

He is a graduate of the Dental Hygiene Program at the University of Lisbon (1990) and earned a bachelor´s degree in Science (Dental Hygiene) from the University of Washington, Seattle (1993). He is also an International speaker in oral health behavior modification and communication skills, having delivered numerous guest lectures in various countries of the world.

He is an Adjunctive Professor and Director of the Dental Hygiene Program at Portalegre Health School. Lives in Caldas da Rainha, Portugal where he also worked as a clinical/behavioral dental hygienist. One wife, 4 kids, 3 cats and play with Lego as a Lego Serious Play Facilitator.