Is Dental Utilization Associated with Oral Health Literacy?

J Dent Res. 2016 Feb;95(2):160-6. doi: 10.1177/0022034515617457. Epub 2015 Nov 13.


The objectives of this study were to examine the pattern of association between dental utilization and oral health literacy (OHL). As part of the Carolina Oral Health Literacy Project, clients in the Women, Infants, and Children's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program completed a structured 30-min in-person interview conducted by 2 trained interviewers at 9 sites in 7 counties in North Carolina. Data were collected on clients' OHL, sociodemographics, dental utilization, self-efficacy, and dental knowledge. The outcome, OHL, was measured with a dental word recognition test (30-item Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Dentistry). Descriptive and multiple linear regression methods were used to examine the distribution of OHL and its association with covariates. After adjusting for age, education, race, marital status, self-efficacy, and dental knowledge, multiple linear regression showed that dental utilization was not a significant predictor of OHL (P > 0.05). Under the conditions of this study, dental utilization was not a significant predictor of OHL.

Keywords: Medicaid; access to health care; cohort studies; communication; dental care; health services research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Literacy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Literacy
  • Marital Status
  • North Carolina
  • Oral Health*
  • Poverty
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Efficacy
  • Social Class