Oral health literacy status among adult population of Iran: A systematic review

Document Type : Systematic Review


1 Department of Health Education and Health Promotion, School of Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

2 Student Research Committee. Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

3 social Determinant of Health Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Background and Objectives: Oral health literacy (OHL) is an important issue that directly and indirectly affects a person's general health. Inadequate OHL increases poor health outcomes and higher health care costs. This systematic review aimed to explore existing evidence of OHL levels in the Iranian population using a systematic review method.

 Materials and Methods: A systematic review was performed following the principles of PRISMA. The main databases including PubMed, SID, Magiran, and Google Scholar databases were searched with the keyword OHL and its Persian equivalents, without restrictions in publication time. Only descriptive studies that have reported any consequences of OHL in the adult Iranian population (18 years and above) were selected, and articles published in languages other than English and Persian and without access to the full text of the articles were excluded. Finally, the New Castle-Ottawa Quality Assessment scale was used to measure the quality of the studies.

Results: Of the 724 retrieved studies, 68 studies met the inclusion criteria and were reviewed. Nine of the included studies evaluated the state of OHL. Most studies reported gender and education level to be associated with higher OHL. The literature was inconclusive regarding the association between OHL and dental treatment outcomes and oral health perceptions. Meta-analysis was not performed due to the limited data obtained in this review.

Conclusion: Evidence shows that OHL in the Iranian population is limited, and warranted the need for high-quality and intervention research by using different standard tools. Also, this review highlights special attention to the sub-groups within the population in oral health education.


Availability of data and materials: The data sets used and/or analyzed during the current study was available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Conflict of interest:  The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest

Consent for Publication: Not applicable

Ethical considerations: Ethical issues (Including plagiarism, informed consent, misconduct, data fabrication and/or falsification, double publication and/or submission, redundancy, etc.) have been completely observed by the authors. 

Funding: No financial support was received for this study.
Authors' contributions: All authors have their own responsibilities in this review manuscript. All authors read the final draft of the manuscript and confirmed it. 

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