Health Literacy in Dentistry

ADA policy defines oral health literacy as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate oral health decisions. It also recognizes that by improving health literacy, patients are better stewards of their own health. You can improve health literacy by using simple communication with the patient and confirming comprehension so that the risk of miscommunication is minimized. You can support patients' efforts to improve their oral health by using strategies that make the dental office environment and health care system easier to navigate.

Health Literacy Resources

The ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention (CAAP) sponsored its first pilot health writing contest for dental students in 2015 per the suggestion of Dr. Sorin Teich, Associate Professor, Department of Comprehensive Care and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. The Ohio Dental Association also collaborated on the initiative. The objectives of the contest are to increase students' knowledge about health literacy principles and build their skills in writing plain language. The ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention (CAAP) sponsored its first pilot health writing contest for dental students in 2015 per the suggestion of Dr. Sorin Teich, Associate Professor, Department of Comprehensive Care and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. The Ohio Dental Association also collaborated on the initiative. The objectives of the contest are to increase students' knowledge about health literacy principles and build their skills in writing plain language. For more information, please visit the Health Literacy Essay Contest page.

Health Literacy in Dentistry FAQ

Increasing the Dental Team's Knowledge of Health Literacy