Association between oral health literacy, gingival health and oral hygiene among dental patients


  • Hope INEGBENOSUN Department of Periodontics, University of Benin Teaching Hospital
  • Clement Chinedu Azodo Department of Periodontics, University of Benin , Benin-City, Nigeria


Oral health Literacy, Periodontal health, Detal caries


Objective: To determine the association between oral health literacy, oral hygiene and gingival health status.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among patients attending University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City. Data were collected through interviewer-administered questionnaires. Index used in this study for estimating oral health literacy levels was Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Dentistry-30 (REALD-30). The participant’s oral hygiene status was assessed using the Simplified Oral Hygiene Index while gingival health was assessed using the Gingival Index.

Results: Two hundred and eight participants with 130 (62.5%) males and 78 (37.5%) females formed the population of the study and their mean age was 28.32 ± 10.5 years.  The prevalence of low oral health literacy was 86 (41.3%). The oral hygiene status of most of the participants 100 (48.1) was fair. The prevalence of gingivitis was 58.2%. Oral health literacy had significant statistical negative correlation with age, oral hygiene and gingival health status. Oral health literacy consistently emerged as a predictor of oral hygiene and gingival health status.

Conclusion: Majority of the participants with low oral health literacy had fair/poor oral hygiene status (p = 0.000, OR= 17.870, 95% CI = 7.320-43.627) and gingivitis (p = 0.000, OR= 7.054, 95% CI = 3.514-14.164).

Keywords: Oral health literacy, Gingivitis, Oral hygiene