Oral health literacy among clients visiting a Rural Dental College in north India- A crosssectional study
BACKGROUND: Limited health literacy among adults is one of the many barriers to better oral health outcomes. It is not uncommon to find people who consider understanding oral health information a challenge. Therefore, the present study assessed oral health literacy among clients visiting Gian Sagar Dental College and Hospital, Rajpura.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 450 participants who visited the Out Patient Department (OPD) of Gian Sagar Dental College and Hospital for a period of two months (Nov-Dec, 2013). A questionnaire was given to each of the participants. Oral health literacy was
graded on a 12-point Likert scale based on the total score. Oral Health Literacy of the participants was assessed as low, medium and high on the basis of responses. Statistical analysis was done using SPSS-15 statistical package. ANOVA and Student t-test were used to do comparisons between groups.
RESULTS: Low oral health literacy scores were reported in 60.2% (271) participants. More than 60% of the study participants had knowledge about dental terms such as ‘dental caries,’ and ‘oral cancer.’ Only 22% of the graduates had a high literacy score. Mean oral health literacy score according to educational qualification was statistically significant (p<0.05), whereas there was no significant difference in terms of age and gender (p>0.05).
CONCLUSION: The majority of the participants had low literacy scores. There is a need to address these problems especially among rural population by health care providers and the government.
KEYWORDS: Oral health, literacy, clients, knowledge, education