Aim: To evaluate the impact of oral health literacy (OHL) on the periodontal health among low-income-group workers of dental institutes.
Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 137 class III and IV workers of dental college. Data collection was done by using a customized pro forma including demographics, REALD-30 for calculating OHL, and items on oral hygiene habits like toothpaste use, brushing frequency, and any other oral hygiene aid. Following which periodontal health status was determined, which was categorized into severe, moderate, and mild periodontitis (health). The analysis was done using the SPSS 11.5. Periodontal health status was associated with OHL scores, oral hygiene habits, and demographics using the chi-square test. The statistical significance level was set at 5% level.
Results: Among the 137 subjects, 25 participants reported health/mild periodontitis, 53 had moderate periodontitis, and 59 had severe periodontitis. Low OHL was observed in 52.5% and only 13.8% had high OHL. The participants who had low OHL, 56.94% (n = 41), were having severe disease, while the subjects who had better OHL, only 21.05% (n = 4) were found to have severe disease.
Conclusion: The people with low socioeconomic classes can be reached effectively if the community involvement concept is used through the workers of dental institutions. But first efforts should be made to improve the OHL of these workers.
Clinical significance: Improving OHL can be of great help to the clinicians and the community health workers because it helps them to make patient adherent to the treatment and the medications prescribed to them. Periodontitis affects people with low socioeconomic status and in the present study it was class III and IV workers. Improving OHL of this population will decrease the oral disease burden of India.
Keywords: Dental workers; Oral health literacy Periodontitis..