Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua

Second Advisor

Dr. Jack Michael

Third Advisor

Dr. Dick Malott

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Inadequate oral hygiene is one of the largest problems facing the dental profession to date. It is estimated that 98% of individuals suffer from dental problems associated with neglect. The objective of this study was to develop effective techniques which aided in the acquisition and maintenance of oral hygiene skills. This study compared the effects of instruction and demonstration with contingency management on plaque percentage scores. A between-subjects design was used with one control and three experimental groups. The results indicated that, oral hygiene instruction and demonstration appear to be ineffective in reducing plaque scores. Significant plaque reductions where found at post intervention for two experimental groups which utilized contingency management to improve home care dental hygiene performances. One contingency management group was also able to maintain significant plaque reductions at a six month follow-up. These results suggest that continued research on contingency management and preventive oral care is warranted.