Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial of a care partner assisted intervention to improve oral health of individuals with mild dementia

Bei Wu, Brenda L. Plassman, Patricia Poole, Shahrzad Siamdoust, Melanie Bunn, Bobbi Burwell, Yaolin Pei, Christine Downey, Danni Gomes, Angela Kamer, Gary Yu, A. Leak Bryant, Ruth A. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Individuals with mild dementia are at high risk of poor oral health outcomes. To address this issue, we describe an intervention to teach care partners skills to guide individuals with mild dementia in proper oral hygiene techniques and provide reminders to practice oral hygiene care. By providing support to perform these tasks successfully, we aim to delay oral health decline among this vulnerable population. Methods and analysis This multisite study is a three-arm randomised controlled trial. The primary objective is to evaluate the efficacy of an intervention to improve oral hygiene outcomes by promoting positive oral hygiene behaviours and skills among individuals with mild dementia. Care partners' behaviour factors, such as oral care self-efficacy and implementation of the care plan, serve as mediators of the intervention. Participant-care partner dyads will be randomly assigned to either Treatment Group 1, Treatment Group 2 or the Control Group. All groups will receive an educational booklet. Treatment Group 1 and Treatment Group 2 will receive a smart electronic toothbrush. Treatment Group 2 (the intervention group) will also receive an oral hygiene care skill assessment, personalised oral hygiene instruction and treatment plan; and care partners will receive in-home and telephone coaching on behaviour change. Oral health outcomes will be compared across the three groups. The duration of the active intervention is 3 months, with an additional 3-month maintenance phase. Data collection will involve three home visits: baseline, 3 months and 6 months. The study enrollment started in November 2021, and the data collection will end in Spring 2024. Ethics and dissemination The study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board of the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Duke University, and is registered at A Data Safety Monitoring Board has been constituted. The study findings will be disseminated via peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and social media. Trial registration number NCT04390750.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere057099
JournalBMJ open
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


  • behavior change techniques
  • care partner
  • caregiver
  • dementia
  • oral health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial of a care partner assisted intervention to improve oral health of individuals with mild dementia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this