Aim Although self-efficacy is known to affect various health-related practises, few studies have clearly examined how self-efficacy correlates with oral health behaviors or the oral health condition. We examined the relationship between gingivitis, oral health behaviors and self-efficacy in university students. Material & Methods A total of 2,111 students (1,197 males, 914 females) aged 18 and 19 years were examined. The degree of gingivitis was expressed as the percentage of bleeding on probing (%BOP). Additional information was collected via a questionnaire regarding oral health behaviors (daily frequency of tooth-brushing, use of dental floss and regular check-up). Self-efficacy was assessed using the Self-Efficacy Scale for Self-care (SESS). Path analysis was used to test pathways from self-efficacy to oral health behaviors and %BOP. Results In the final structural model, self-efficacies were related to each other, and they affected oral health behaviors. Good oral health behaviors reduced dental plaque and calculus, and lower levels of dental plaque and calculus resulted in lower %BOP. Conclusion Higher self-efficacy correlated with better oral health behaviours and gingival health in university students. Improving self-efficacy may be beneficial for maintaining good gingival health in university students. To prevent gingivitis, the approach of enhancing self-efficacy in university students would be useful.
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