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Article: Volume 41 Number 7 Page 605 - September 2014

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  Dent Update 2014; 41: 605-612

Dental public health:  An Introduction to Health Literacy and Oral Health: The Importance of Awareness Amongst Dental Care Professionals

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Abstract: This article introduces the concept of oral health literacy and its potential impact on patient care to the dental team. Factors which influence an individual’s level of functional oral health literacy are discussed, along with methods which have been developed to measure it. Finally, public health initiatives to improve oral health literacy are considered, along with measures that individual practitioners can take.

Clinical relevance: Oral health literacy may potentially play a vital role in the ability of patients to access and understand oral health information and treatment.

Author notes: Carly L Taylor, PhD, BDS, MSc, MFGDP FHEA, Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Specialty Registrar in Restorative Dentistry and Iain Pretty, BDS(Hons), MSc, MPH, PhD, FDS(DPH) RCS(Ed), Professor and Honorary Consultant in Dental Public Health, University of Manchester, Manchester Science Park, Manchester M15 6SE, UK.

Objective: To explain the concept of oral health literacy and its implications for patient management.