Oral health knowledge is associated with oral health-related quality of life: a survey of first-year undergraduate students enrolled in an American university

Jenna Gardner, Boyen Huang, Ryan H.L. Ip

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Abstract

Background Oral health knowledge forms part of oral health literacy that enables individuals to inform appropriate oral health decisions and actions. Oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) characterizes self-perception of well-being influenced by oral health. This study aimed to examine the relationship between oral health knowledge and OHRQoL.
Methods A random sample of 19-to-24-year-old first-year undergraduate students (n = 372) in Minnesota, United States of America was used. Each student was assessed with an online survey using the Comprehensive Measure
of Oral Health Knowledge (CMOHK) and the OHRQoL items of the World Health Organization (WHO) Oral Health Questionnaire for Adults. Relationships between OHRQoL parameters and CMOHK together with other covariates were assessed using ordinal regression models. Associations between OHRQoL parameters were examined with the Kendall’s tau-b method.
Results Dry mouth (45%) was the most reported OHRQoL issue. The respondents showing good oral health knowledge were less likely to experience speech or pronunciation difficulty (β=-1.12, p = 0.0006), interrupted sleep (β=-1.43, p = 0.0040), taking days off (β=-1.71, p = 0.0054), difficulty doing usual activities (β=-2.37, p = 0.0002), or reduced participation in social activities due to dental or oral issues (β=-1.65, p = 0.0078).
Conclusions This study suggested a protective effect of better oral health knowledge on specific OHRQoL issues. In addition to provision of affordable dental services, university-wide oral health education can be implemented to
improve OHRQoL in undergraduate students.

Original languageEnglish
Article number961
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Oral Health
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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