Objective. To evaluate oral health literacy, independent of other oral health determinants, as a risk indicator for self-reported oral health. Methods. A cross-sectional population-based survey conducted in Tehran, Iran. Multiple logistic regression analysis served to estimate the predictive effect of oral health literacy on self-reported oral health status (good versus poor) controlling for socioeconomic and demographic factors and tooth-brushing behavior. Results. In all, among 1031 participants (mean age 36.3 (SD 12.9); 51% female), women reported brushing their teeth more frequently (P < 0.001) and scored higher for oral health literacy (mean 10.9 versus 10.2, P < 0.001). In the adjusted model, high age (OR = 1.01, 95% CI 1.003-1.034), low education (OR = 1.88, 95% CI 1.23-2.87), small living area in square meters per person (OR = 1.85, 95% CI 1.003-3.423), poor tooth brushing behavior (OR = 3.35, 95% CI 2.02-5.57), and low oral health literacy scores (OR = 1.58, 95% CI 1.02-2.45) were significant risk indicators for poor self-reported oral health. Conclusions. Low oral health literacy level, independent of education and other socioeconomic determinants, was a predictor for poor self-reported oral health and should be considered a vital determinant of oral health in countries with developing health care systems.
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