233920 Examination of Oral Health Literacy in Public Health Practice

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 5:10 PM - 5:30 PM

Jessica Lee, DDS, MPH , Department of Pediatric Dentistry, University of North Carolina School of Dentistry, Chapel Hill, NC
According to the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey, 25 percent of US adults are functionally illiterate. Because written health information is frequently provided at above the 10th grade level, health messages are not reaching low-literacy patients, which jeopardizes their health status. Researchers have found that low literacy has a detrimental effect on general health and the use of medical services. Evidence from research in medical settings consistently highlights the importance of comprehension and literacy for patient compliance and increased positive health outcomes. Although much is known about medical health literacy, no studies that have systematically studied oral health literacy. The purpose of this current application is to examine how a low dental literacy population interprets dental health prevention information, navigates the dental health system and whether participation in a large comprehensive public health program (Women, Infant and Children's Program) can be effective in improving this process for pregnant women and their children and reduce health disparities.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1) Determine the dental health literacy rates among a low-income, high-risk population. 2) Identify the role of the Women, Infant and Children's Program in understanding preventive dental health information such as consent forms, oral hygiene instructions and compliance to fluoride instructions among a low-income/low dental health literacy population. 3) Discuss the role of the Women, Infant and Children's Program in navigating the dental health care system among a low-income/low-dental literacy population including compliance for dental appointments and appropriate use. 4) Evaluate the effects of the Women, Infant, and Children's Program on cumulative treatment and costs of dental services provided by Medicaid as well as oral health related quality of life in a population with low dental health literacy.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified by education (DDS, MPH, PhD) and experience in oral health literacy.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.