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National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, Georgetown University

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Resource Highlights:
Focus on Health Literacy

This collection of selected resources offers high-quality information about health literacy. Use the tools below for further searching, or contact us for personalized assistance.

Oral health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic oral and craniofacial health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.

Selected Materials in the OHRC Library

Flanagan D, Whitehead A, Rosen-Reynoso M. 2011. Partnering to Make Oral Health Services Easier to Use for Families with CYSHCN. Boston, MA: National Center for Ease of Use of Community-Based Services. 3 items (slides, archive, captioned text).

This webinar discussed the development of the Wisconsin Special Smiles Program (WSSP), a community-based oral health system for children and adolescents with special health care needs (CASHCN). Topics included aspects of the program, examples of how WSSP partnered with Title V programs to deliver services, and tips on building partnerships to make services easier to use for families with CASHCN. [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]

Hewitt M; Institute of Medicine, Roundtable on Health Literacy. 2013. Oral Health Literacy: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. 125 pp.

This report summarizes a workshop held on March 29, 2012, in Washington, DC, to explore the field of oral health literacy. Topics include the importance of health literacy and its role in addressing oral health problems, how oral health literacy can be assessed within care systems and within the environment, experiences of effective programs, state-based initiatives, and national activities.

Holt K, Lowe E. 2013. Brush Up on Oral Health. Elk Grove Village, IL: Head Start National Center on Health. 4 pp.

The February 2013 issue of Brush Up on Oral Health focuses on oral health literacy, why it is important, and what Head Start staff can do to improve it. Topics include best and promising practices in oral health, current research, practical tips, frequently asked questions, and a recipe for a healthy snack.

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Policy Center. 2011. Key Oral Health Messages: Messages and Talking Points for Use with Policymakers, Stakeholders, and the Public. Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Policy Center. 2 pp.

This consensus document contains common themes and key messages about children's oral health developed by a workgroup of dental and health communications experts. Topics include the importance of oral health to overall health, the seriousness of the problem, the costs to society, and the importance of investing in prevention. [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]

Robinson LA, ed. 2012. Oral Health Literacy. Journal of the California Dental Association 40(4):283–378. 1 v.

This issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association focuses on oral health literacy. Topics include a national plan to improve health literacy in dentistry; the potential to address oral health literacy in K–12 schools; creating and maintaining health–literate dental practices, clinics, and schools; and increasing professionals' and the public's health literacy as it relates to the topic of oral cancers.

U.S. National Oral Health Alliance. 2012. Summary of the Third Leadership Colloquium: Oral Health Literacy as a Pathway to Health Equity. Boston, MA: U.S. National Oral Health Alliance. 36 pp.

This report summarizes the fourth leadership colloquium of the U.S. National Oral Health Alliance held on November 15–16, 2012, in New Orleans, Louisiana. The purpose of the colloquium was to develop and draw attention to critical metrics for improving oral health. The summary provides an overview of key areas of focus, shared ideas, and next steps envisioned by colloquium participants.

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Selected Websites


Agency for Health Care Research and Quality

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Health Literacy Consulting

Health Literacy Out Loud

Health Resources and Services Administration

  • Effective Communication Tools for Healthcare Professionals: Addressing Health Literacy, Cultural Competency, and Limited English Proficiency (credit, noncredit)

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Office of Minority Health

Find more organizations in OHRC's Organizations Database.

Resource Highlights: Focus on Health Literacy. September 2013. Updated April 2014.

Reviewers: Alice Horowitz, Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy, School of Public Health, University of Maryland; John Welby, Oral Health Literacy Campaign, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene


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National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center Georgetown University