Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Can't understand dental jargon?? You may find this interesting...

I was online the other day looking up specific terms that I found difficult to understand on my dental bill. Anyone else feel like it's in a different language? Well, I found some stuff I thought I would share.

I found this article at

Many People May Not Understand Dental Information September 27, 2007
by Nancy VolkersInteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - Many people may have problems understanding written information about their oral health, says a study. Researchers surveyed 101 people visiting the dentist in North Carolina.

The researchers asked people to read 30 words out loud. All of the words were related to oral health or dentistry. Other research has shown that if a person has problems pronouncing words about a certain subject, then he or she is also likely to have problems with printed materials about the same subject. These people also may have trouble understanding what their dentists or dental hygienists tell them.

About one-third of the people scored low enough on the test to have low health literacy. Most people could pronounce at least 20 of the 30 words. Only 7% pronounced them all correctly.

Some people were more likely to have lower scores:

  • People who had not visited a dentist in the past year, who were nearly four times as likely to score low
  • People who already had incorrect knowledge about periodontal disease and/or preventing tooth decay, who were three times as likely to score low
  • People who said their oral health was fair or poor, who were nearly three times as likely to score low

There were no differences in oral health literacy by race, age or gender. Scoring wasn’t different according to the type of dental insurance a person had (private, public or none).

Very little research has been done in the area of dental health literacy. But studies have shown that in general people who can better understand written health information are healthier. They also get better faster when they are sick.

The researchers say that education and counseling could help.
The study is published in the September issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

After reading this, I went on to Savon's website to email for help understanding my bill and I found that they offer their own dental dictionary or "tooth-o-pedia" if you will. I was actually able to pretty much answer my own questions. It's a great tool and you don't even have to be a member to use it! Here's the link if you want to check it out (or, after reading that article, you just want to get a bit more educated!! Lol.) :)


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