Conventional behavioural models, such as social cognition models, to improve oral health have been proposed for a long time but have failed to consistently explain reliable amounts of variability in human behaviours relevant to oral health. This paper introduces current work from the behavioural sciences aiming to better understand the process through which behaviour change may take place. Given the shortcomings seen so far in attempts to explain behaviour through traditional models it is proposed that a new approach is adopted. This commentary outlines this new approach, grounded in current work by mainstream behaviour change experts. We propose that attempts to use unreliable theoretical models to explain and predict oral health behaviour should now be replaced by work following this new paradigm.