How can you help to change patients behaviour?

How can you help?

By Making Every Contact Count, healthcare professionals will encourage and help patients make healthier choices to achieve positive behaviour changes long term. The initiative has set out a protocol to follow, which shows that actions can be taken to assist patients to make behaviour changes whatever their readiness to change (Figure 1).


Whether a patient is keen to, unsure of or against making a behaviour change, there is always a conversation that can be had, and an action to be agreed on.

To summarise so far:

  • The NHS have suggested all healthcare professionals “use every contact with an individual to maintain or improve their mental and physical health and wellbeing where possible.”
  • There are many shared risk factors between oral and general health, including smoking, drinking alcohol and consuming a diet high in sugars.
  • Patients feel comfortable discussing the change of these behaviours with their dentists.
  • Regardless of the patient's readiness to change, there is always an opportunity for you to initiate behaviour change conversations.

We will now introduce you to some techniques that have been found to be effective in changing peoples smoking, diet and alcohol behaviours.