Development of the California Oral Health Literacy Toolkit


Linda Neuhauser, Anthony Eleftherion, Rebecca Freed, Rosanna Jackson, Karen Sokal-Gutierrez, Jessica Liu, Susan Ivey, Kristin Hoeft, Alice Horowitz, and Jayanth Kumar

Sep 2021

Although many factors contribute to the high prevalence of oral health problems and widening disparities in the U.S., limited oral health literacy has emerged as a major contributor. Oral health literacy (OHL) refers to people’s abilities to access, understand and use oral health information to inform decisions and actions for themselves and others. Studies over the past two decades show a strong association between low individual, provider and organizational OHL and the prevalence of oral health problems and inequities. Many federal health agencies and national and state dental and public health associations have defined policy goals to improve OHL. Beginning in 2018, the California Department of Public Health, Office of Oral Health engaged with the Health Research for Action Center at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health to create the California Oral Health Literacy Toolkit Project — intended to advance its statewide goal of improving OHL among dental providers.