Oral Health Literacy and its Relationship with Level of Education and Self-Efficacy among Patients Attending a Dental Rural Outreach Clinic in India
Objective: To evaluate the relationship between Oral health literacy (OHL) with the level of education and self-efficacy among adults (age 18-77 years) patients attending a dental outreach clinic in Udupi Taluk.
Basic Research Design: A cross-sectional study of adult patients attending a dental outreach clinic by convenience sampling.
Method: Information was obtained about patient’s sociodemographic factors along with the self-efficacy by using Dental Copings Belief’s scale (DCBS) questionnaire and OHL was assessed by using a word recognition instrument Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Dentistry (REALD-30). One way ANOVA and Pearson’s χ2 test were used for analysis.
Participants: 200 adult patients age range of 18-77 years who wanted to seek dental care in a dental outreach clinic. Main Outcome Measures: Oral health literacy (OHL) and Self efficacy (DCBS).
Results: In this study the OHL was significantly associated with the level of education of patients. Among the 200 subjects who claimed to be able to read and write English language andhad completed education till class 10th; more than 50% of the subjects had Low (≤21) OHL scores. Only 12.5% of the total study population had High OHL (≥26) and were clearly able to understand simple dental terminology. Moderate levels of literacy was recorded in 75.6% in graduate and postgraduates indicating that even these people partially understood dental terms. There was no significant association between oral health literacy and self-efficacy.
Conclusion: Our study suggests level of education to be a strong indicator of the OHL in the Indian Population. Further research to develop new instruments to measure the OHL, in a culturally diverse country like India, which has people of different mother tongues should be encouraged.
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