The Relationship between oral health literacy and dental caries experience among pregnant women in Arak, Iran in 2021

Article Type:
Research/Original Article (دارای رتبه معتبر)
Health literacy is recognized as a key determinant of health-related behaviors and outcomes. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between oral health literacy (OHL) and dental caries experience among pregnant women.
This cross-sectional, descriptive-analytical study was conducted on 275 pregnant women covered by health centers in Arak city in 2021. Demographic information, self-reported oral health status, and brushing frequencies were collected using a questionnaire. OHL was measured by the Oral Health Literacy Adults Questionnaire (OHL-AQ). Dental caries experience was assessed using the DMFT index (decayed, missing, filled teeth).
The age of pregnant women participating in the study averaged 29.67 ± 5.54 years. The average score of OHL was 10.14 out of a score of 17. Adequate OHL was observed in only 38.5% of pregnant women. The participants' score of DMFT averaged 9.39 ± 4.43. A significantly lower mean score for decayed teeth (p= 0.001) and a higher mean score for filled teeth (p=0.013) were recorded in a higher percentage of participants with adequate OHL than those with marginal and inadequate OHL. By adjusting the effect of potential confounding factors, the results of the multiple linear regression model revealed no significant relationships between OHL and DMFT among pregnant women participating in the study (p = 0.934).
Fewer decayed teeth and more filled teeth were observed in pregnant women with higher OHL. The promotion of OHL may lead to adherence to health behaviors and subsequently health outcomes for the individual.
Journal of Oral Health and Oral Epidemiology, Volume:12 Issue: 3, Summer 2023
123 to 129  
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