Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




During the last decade, utilization of dental care services has decreased among working age adults. Given the importance of dental visits in the maintenance oral health, and the link between oral and overall health, this trend is disturbing. In order to better understand the reasons behind this downward trend, the current study uses the Theory of Planned Behavior to identify the most influential factors in one’s decision to visit the dentist, modified to include three additional components: affect, habit, and oral health knowledge. Two surveys were conducted to measure the following components as they relate to the dental visit: attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, affect, habit, oral health knowledge, and intention to visit the dentist.

Findings indicate that attitude toward visiting the dentist and strength of habit for visiting the dentist are the critical components in predicting one’s intention to visit the dentist. Practical implications are discussed, specifically, in the context of messaging about the importance of regular dental care in maintaining optimal oral health.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.