Parental health literacy and children's dental health: implications for the future

Pediatr Dent. Jan-Feb 2006;28(1):72-5.


Health literacy--or the lack thereof--is now seen as a major impediment to the successful implementation of many health programs. Every day, parents make decisions, take actions, and consider issues that influence not only their own health, but also that of their children. Unfortunately, it is just being recognized that the reading skills of a significant proportion of American adults are below what is necessary to understand most of the educational materials they are provided. Without the ability to read these materials, parents lack the possibility of understanding the materials and implementing any recommendations to prevent or treat disease. The goal of this paper was to introduce pediatric dentists to the scope of the problem and acquaint them with some of the efforts they can undertake to promote health literacy in their own practices.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Communication Barriers
  • Dental Care for Children / psychology*
  • Educational Status
  • Health Education, Dental*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Reading