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ISRN Dentistry
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 249591, 6 pages
Research Article

Determinants of Oral Health: Does Oral Health Literacy Matter?

1Department of Community Oral Health, School of Dentistry, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, P.O. Box 1439955991, Tehran, Iran
2Department of Oral Public Health, Institute of Dentistry, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 41, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
3Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 41, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
4Department of Community Dentistry, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5281, 90014 Oulu, Finland

Received 16 January 2013; Accepted 16 February 2013

Academic Editors: P. Gjermo and D. Wray

Copyright © 2013 Mohammad Mehdi Naghibi Sistani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To evaluate oral health literacy, independent of other oral health determinants, as a risk indicator for self-reported oral health. Methods. A cross-sectional population-based survey conducted in Tehran, Iran. Multiple logistic regression analysis served to estimate the predictive effect of oral health literacy on self-reported oral health status (good versus poor) controlling for socioeconomic and demographic factors and tooth-brushing behavior. Results. In all, among 1031 participants (mean age 36.3 (SD 12.9); 51% female), women reported brushing their teeth more frequently ( ) and scored higher for oral health literacy (mean 10.9 versus 10.2, ). In the adjusted model, high age (OR = 1.01, 95% CI 1.003–1.034), low education (OR = 1.88, 95% CI 1.23–2.87), small living area in square meters per person (OR = 1.85, 95% CI 1.003–3.423), poor tooth brushing behavior (OR = 3.35, 95% CI 2.02–5.57), and low oral health literacy scores (OR = 1.58, 95% CI 1.02–2.45) were significant risk indicators for poor self-reported oral health. Conclusions. Low oral health literacy level, independent of education and other socioeconomic determinants, was a predictor for poor self-reported oral health and should be considered a vital determinant of oral health in countries with developing health care systems.