PMID: 7090580Jan 1, 1982Paper

Dental health: testing the readability of educational materials

International Journal of Health Education
A S Blinkhorn


Dental practitioners have an important role in the dissemination of information to their patients and their advice is often reinforced with written health education literature. Unfortunately, this material is often of limited value because of its level of readability. This study covered two aspects of the problem: first, a group of 140 secondary school children were asked to explain the meaning of a selection of words commonly used in dental education and second, the readability of some health education literature was assessed and compared with that of texts in magazines and newspapers. Many of the words were not understood by the children: for instance, over 80% were unsure of the meaning of fluoride tablets, gum disease, gingivitis and oral hygiene. As for readability, the test showed that the material reflects the reading capacity of the designers rather than the ability of the potential target group. These findings pinpoint the need to ensure that dental health education literature is not unduly complex and, for dentists, to take more time explaining the dental vocabulary in lay terminology. The methods used in the study can easily be extrapolated to other areas of health.

Related Concepts

Health Education, Dental
Preventive Dentistry

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