Oral Health Literacy Toolkit

This set of resources for oral health providers offers an overview of what oral health literacy is and why it matters, as well as practical tools and roadmaps for improving the health literacy of dental practices.

This toolkit was developed by and is based on research conducted by Health Research for Action, a research center of UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, in collaboration with the California Department of Public Health Office of Oral Health.

The Oral Health Literacy Toolkit is expected to grow and evolve in response to oral health providers’ needs and further research. Currently, the Oral Health Literacy Toolkit consists of these components:

Oral Health Literacy in Practice

  • Introduction to oral health literacy for oral healthcare providers
  • Simple roadmap for assessing your practice and implementing change at your own pace
  • Strategies for communicating clearly and empowering patients
  • Example scripts and templates
  • 24 pages, meant for digital viewing

Oral Health Literacy Toolkit


Practice Assessment Checklist

A tool for identifying oral health literacy strengths and opportunities for improvement in a dental practice. The assessment:
•    Helps dental teams quickly learn what they can do to improve communication at their practices
•    Two-sided sheet that is meant to be printed

Practice Assessment Checklist


What Is Teach-Back?

A booklet to help you learn teach-back, a technique where you ask patients to repeat back what you’ve said.

  • Step-by-step explanation of teach-back method
  • Opening lines to help you start teach-back conversations
  • Example scenarios and scripts so you can practice

Teach-Back Practice booklet




Going to the Dentist Patient Brochure

A 6-panel brochure that explains what to expect during a dental visit and how to prepare. 

  • Written for people who are new to oral healthcare
  • Print on legal-size paper and fold for patients or bring the file to a professional printer

Going to the Dentist Patient Brochure                            Disponible en Español aquí



Oral Health Literacy Action Plan

A 2-page, printable worksheet to help you choose health literacy goals for your practice, then decide how to put those goals into action.

View Action Plan

Oral Health Literacy Toolkit Resources


  1. Tseng, W, Pleasants, E, Ivey, SL, Sokal-Gutierrez, K, Kumar, J, Hoeft, KS, Horowitz, AM, Ramos-Gomez, F, Sodhi, M, Liu, J, Neuhauser, L. Barriers and facilitators to promoting oral health literacy and patient communication among dental providers in California. IJERPH. 2021. 18; 216. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010216  
  2. Neuhauser L, Eleftherion A, Freed B, Sokal-Gutierrez K, Jackson R, Liu J, Ivey SL, Hoeft A, Horowitz A, Kumar J. Development of the California Oral Health Literacy Toolkit. JCDA. 2021 Sep 1;49(9): 587-593. https://issuu.com/cdapublications/docs/_cda_sept_2021_journal_book3_inprogress/47
  3. Hao CY, Sokal-Gutierrez K, Ivey SL, Hoeft KS. Rollout of the Oral Health Literacy Toolkit in California: A Mixed-Methods Analysis. JCDA. 2022 Nov 1;50(11):671-81. https://issuu.com/cdapublications/docs/cda_nov_2022_issuu/35