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J Am Dent Assoc. 2012 Sep;143(9):972-80.

Oral health literacy and knowledge among patients who are pregnant for the first time.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7450, USA. jhom@dentistry.unc.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The authors conducted an observational cohort study to determine the levels of and examine the associations of oral health literacy (OHL) and oral health knowledge in low-income patients who were pregnant for the first time.

METHODS:

An analytic sample of 119 low-income patients who were pregnant for the first time completed a structured 30-minute, in-person interview conducted by two trained interviewers in seven counties in North Carolina. The authors measured OHL by means of a dental word recognition test and assessed oral health knowledge by administering a six-item knowledge survey.

RESULTS:

The authors found that OHL scores were distributed normally (mean [standard deviation], 16.4 [5.0]). The percentage of correct responses for each oral health knowledge item ranged from 45 to 98 percent. The results of bivariate analyses showed that there was a positive correlation between OHL and oral health knowledge (P < .01). Higher OHL levels were associated with correct responses to two of the knowledge items (P < .01).

CONCLUSIONS:

OHL was low in the study sample. There was a significant association between OHL and oral health knowledge.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS:

Low OHL levels and, thereby, low levels of oral health knowledge, might affect health outcomes for both the mother and child. Tailoring messages to appropriate OHL levels might improve knowledge.

PMID:
22942142
PMCID:
PMC3711860
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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