Oral and dental health care practices in pregnant women in Australia: A postnatal survey

Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Adelaide, SA, Australia.
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth (Impact Factor: 2.19). 02/2008; 8(1):13. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2393-8-13
Source: PubMed


The aims of this study were to assess women's knowledge and experiences of dental health in pregnancy and to examine the self-care practices of pregnant women in relation to their oral health.
Women in the postnatal ward at the Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide, completed a questionnaire to assess their knowledge, attitudes and practices to periodontal health. Pregnancy outcomes were collected from their medical records. Results were analysed by chi-square tests, using SAS.
Of the 445 women enrolled in the survey, 388 (87 per cent) completed the questionnaire. Most women demonstrated reasonable knowledge about dental health. There was a significant association between dental knowledge and practices with both education and socio-economic status. Women with less education and lower socio-economic status were more likely to be at higher risk of poor periodontal health compared with women with greater levels of education and higher socioeconomic status.
Most women were knowledgeable about oral and dental health. Lack of knowledge about oral and dental health was strongly linked to women with lower education achievements and lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Whether more intensive dental health education in pregnancy can lead to improved oral health and ultimately improved pregnancy outcomes requires further study.

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Available from: Philippa Middleton
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    • "Refugees are considered a 'hard to reach' population for both health services and research studies. For example , Thomas et al. investigated oral health practices in pregnancy but did not use research methods that are inclusive of non-English speaking participants [41]. Economic and other skilled migrants, whilst also facing challenges settling in their new country don't often experience similar vulnerabilities associated with torture and trauma that people with refugee backgrounds often do. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Vulnerable populations such as people with refugee backgrounds are at increased risk of poor oral health. Given that maternal characteristics play a significant role in the development of dental caries in children, antenatal care offers an opportunity to both provide information to women about the importance of maternal oral health and accessing dental care. Although pregnant women are recognised for ‘priority’ care under Victorian state-government policy, rarely do they attend. This study aims to describe Afghan and Sri Lankan women’s knowledge and beliefs surrounding maternal oral health, barriers to accessing dental care during pregnancy, and to present the perspectives of maternity and dental service providers in relation to dental care for pregnant women. Methods One agency comprising both dental and maternity services formed the setting for the study. Using participatory methods that included working with bicultural community workers, focus groups were conducted with Afghan and Sri Lankan refugee background participants. Focus groups were also completed with midwives and dental service staff. Thematic analysis was applied to analyse the qualitative data. Results Four community focus groups were conducted with a total of 14 Afghan women, eight Sri Lankan women, and three Sri Lankan men. Focus groups were also conducted with 19 dental staff including clinicians and administrative staff, and with ten midwives. Four main themes were identified: perceptions of dental care during pregnancy, navigating dental services, maternal oral health literacy and potential solutions. Key findings included women and men’s perception that dental treatment is unsafe during pregnancy, the lack of awareness amongst both the midwives and community members of the potential impact of poor maternal oral health and the overall lack of awareness and understanding of the ‘priority of access’ policy that entitles pregnant women to receive dental care cost-free. Conclusion This study highlights a significant policy-to-practice gap which if not addressed has the potential to widen oral health inequalities across the life-course. Stakeholders were keen to collaborate and support action to improve the oral health of mothers and their infants with the over-riding priority being to develop inter-service relationships to promote seamless access to oral health care.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2016 · BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
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    • "Considering the poor general health status ofthe mothers, it is plausible that the oral health might also be compromised [3]. Numerous studies exist in the literature assessing the gingival and periodontal diseases, [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] dental caries, [14] [15] [16] [17] oral health related quality of life [18] [19] [20] and dental service utilization [21] [22] among pregnant and post-partum women. But the literature comparing oral health among non-pregnant women, expectant mothers and mothers of newborns and children appears seemingly scant. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To evaluate oral health among women which would provide a baseline data to develop preventive and educational programmes. Material and methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out within the municipal corporation limits of Udupi district among women attending/visiting government and private hospital for antenatal checkup , checkup for their new born or the accompanying persons visiting the hospitals. Age, type of health care system, previous pregnancy was collected at the time of enrollment in the study. This was followed by recording of Community Periodontal Index and Loss of Attachment (CPI and LOA) for periodontal diseases and Decayed, Missing, Filled Tooth (DMFT) Index for dental caries. Results: A total of 1004 women (508 government and 496 private hospital) participated in this study. There was a significant difference in the periodontal status (mean CPI and LOA) among the three types of women (p<0.001 and <0.001). Post-hoc analysis showed that the expectant mothers had highest mean CPI and LOA followed by mothers with least mean score in non-pregnant women. There was a significant difference in the caries status (mean DT, MT, DMFT) among the three types of women (p=0.02, <0.001 and <0.001) however, no significant difference was seen with respect to mean filled tooth (FT). Post-hoc analysis showed that the expectant mothers and mothers had higher mean DT than non – pregnant women. Interestingly, it was seen that mothers had higher mean MT than expectant mothers and non-pregnant women. The overall mean DMFT score was significantly higher for mothers followed by expectant mothers with least being in non-pregnant women. Conclusion: A clear understanding of hormonal changes and its role in oral health and disease is needed for all the health care providers. Women in the reproductive age and who were expecting pregnancy should have thorough oral health screening and treatment.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015
    • "There was a noticeable lack of knowledge of child oral health among pregnant women in Dunedin, particularly among those who were younger, fi rst-time mothers or of low SES. These fi ndings were consistent with other studies in Australia and the USA regarding mothers' knowledge of oral health and hygiene for their children (Finlayson et al., 2005; Akpabio et al., 2008; Thomas et al., 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: To be maximally effective, oral health preventive strategies should start at birth. There appear to be few reports on pregnant women's knowledge of oral health care for their developing children. This exploratory study assessed Dunedin expectant mothers' knowledge of the oral health care of their future children. A questionnaire was developed to assess expectant mothers' knowledge of child oral health and appropriate prevention strategies. Three public Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) organisations and 30 private individual LMCs were asked to distribute the questionnaire to their clients attending appointments during a one-month period. Questions focused on the mother's knowledge of oral health practices for their future children, including oral hygiene and access to dental care. Fewer than half of the participants thought they had enough information about their child's oral health needs. One-quarter thought that toothbrushing should not start until after two years of age. The majority thought their child should not be seen by a dental professional until this age, while one-fifth did not think their child should be seen until four years old. Poorer child oral health knowledge was found in first-time mothers, younger women, those from low-SES groups, and those who were not New Zealand (NZ) Europeans. A substantial number of participants were unaware of how to provide appropriate oral health care for their children despite the available information. This lack of awareness needs to be taken into account when designing oral health promotion strategies for parents of very young children.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · The New Zealand dental journal
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