J Korean Acad Oral Health.  2017 Jun;41(2):102-109. 10.11149/jkaoh.2017.41.2.102.

Oral health literacy of Korean adults

  • 1Department of Preventive & Community Dentistry, Chonbuk National University Dental School, Jeonju, Korea. prevdent@chonbuk.ac.kr
  • 2Institute of Oral-Bio Science, Chonbuk National University Dental School, Jeonju, Korea.


OBJECTIVES: We used a questionnaire to measure the oral health literacy of Korean adults. We then evaluated the validity and reliability of the questionnaire.
This questionnaire was developed using a literacy assessment tool from the National Institute of Korean Language, Republic of Korea. The survey was composed of instructions for dental treatment and oral health information. The components were sub-classified into three cognitive processes (realistic, deductive, and critical domains). Of the 337 university students who received the questionnaire, 84.3 percent responded. We calculated the reliability of the questionnaire using Cronbach's α, to assess the item discrimination and difficulty as well as effectiveness of distracters.
We found that the reliability of the 24 items in the questionnaire was 0.89. The mean item discrimination and difficulty values were 0.53 and 0.71. The percentage of correct answers was higher than the effectiveness of the distracters in all items. The mean number of answers to the oral health information data (72.1) was higher than that to dental treatment instructions (63.9). The mean number of answers to the items in the realistic domain (76.1) was higher than that to the items in the deductive (69.4) and critical (65.9) domains. Neither gender nor university major had a significant effect on the percentage of correct answers.
Sixty percent of university students were found to have the government-recommended level of oral literacy. Therefore, better oral health education is required to ensure that all individuals meet government-recommended levels.


Adults; Korean version; Oral health literacy
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