SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • oral health;
  • literacy;
  • health literacy;
  • periodontitis;
  • periodontal disease

Abstract

Objective

The objective of this study was to describe oral health literacy (OHL) among periodontal patients and to examine its association with periodontal health status.

Methods

This cross-sectional study included new and referred patients presenting to the University of North Carolina Graduate Periodontology Clinic. Sociodemographic and dental history information were collected. OHL was measured using a dental word recognition instrument, Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy-30 (REALD-30). Clinical periodontal examinations were completed.

Results

One hundred and twenty-eight participants enrolled and 121 completed all study examinations and instruments. Despite a high level of education among participants in our study, low levels of OHL were found in one-third (33 percent) of the study population. Thirty-one percent had moderate OHL (score of 22-25), 37 percent had high OHL (score ≥ 26). The mean REALD-30 score was 23. Fifty-three percent of participants had severe periodontitis, 29 percent had moderate periodontitis, and 18 percent had mild or no periodontitis. Bivariate analysis showed a significant association between OHL and periodontal status (P < 0.05). The effect of OHL on periodontal health status remained statistically significant (P < 0.002) even after controlling for smoking, race, and dental insurance.

Conclusion

Lower OHL was associated with more severe periodontal disease among new and referred patients presenting to the University of North Carolina Graduate Periodontology Clinics.