J Korean Acad Oral Health.  2014 Dec;38(4):220-226. 10.11149/jkaoh.2014.38.4.220.

Impact of oral health literacy on oral health-related quality of life among adults

  • 1Department of Preventive and Public Health Dentistry, College of Dentistry, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Korea. smagn@wonkwang.ac.kr
  • 2Institute of Wonkwang Dental Research, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Korea.


The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of oral health literacy on oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL).
Self-administered questionnaires were handed out to 760 adults above the age of 18 selected through convenience sampling. Among them, those above 60 years of age were also interviewed face-to-face. The Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Dentistry (REALD-99) and the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Dentistry (TOFHLiD) were used to measure verbal and functional oral health literacy respectively. OHRQoL was measured using the oral health impact profile-14 (OHIP-14), a simplified version of the oral health impact profile (OHIP). The sociodemographic characteristics (gender, age, marital status, education level, and income) were also recorded. Higher scores on oral health literacy represented higher levels of literacy, while higher OHIP-14 scores implied that the OHRQoL was lower.
During analyses, the sample was stratified into the top and bottom 25% based on functional oral health literacy levels. OHRQoL had a statistically significant negative correlation with functional oral health literacy. The items on functional limitation, physical disability, social disability, and handicap specifically showed negative correlations. Multiple regression analysis was performed after including sociodemograhic variables also. Only functional and not verbal oral health literacy had a statistically significant influence on OHRQoL. The higher the functional oral health literacy level, the higher was the OHRQoL.
Enhancement of functional oral health literacy level through oral health education is necessary to improve the OHRQoL.


Adult; Literacy; Oral health; Quality of life
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