Background: The parent's ability to obtain, process, and understand important oral health information (i.e., their oral health literacy) is directly related to their child's oral health status. Aim: To assess the relationship between oral literacy demands placed on parents by dentists and parents' understanding of dental information given to them. Design: Thirty-one consenting primary caregivers of children attending their first dental visit completed a demographic survey, a REALD-30 test, and a survey to test understanding of dental information. Dental appointments, performed by eight pediatric dental residents, were audio-recorded and transcribed for qualitative analysis and descriptive statistics. Results: Factors associated with language complexity were significantly higher in dental residents (R) than participants (P), that is, total number of words spoken (R: 1615.09 + 859.91 vs P: 480.68 + 232.034) and words per sentence (R: 8.82 + 1.74 vs P: 4.91 + 1.71). Speaking turns did not differ between resident and parent (R: 94.64 vs P: 83.27). Conclusions: Although the dialogue between the participating dentists and parents was highly unequal, parents understood about 86% of the information provided by the resident. Future studies are needed to identify factors associated with gaps in the educational process of parents in the dental setting.
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