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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 5, 2010

Women's attitudes to and perceptions of oral health and dental care during pregnancy

Marc J.N.C. Keirse and Kamila Plutzer
From the journal


Aims: To assess pregnant women's opinions on and perceptions of oral health and their relationship to oral hygiene and dental care practices.

Methods: Questionnaire survey on perceived oral health, oral hygiene and utilization of dental services among 649 nulliparae attending for antenatal care at all public antenatal clinics in Adelaide, South Australia.

Results: Women rated their general health significantly better than their oral health (P<0.001) and attributed more importance to healthy teeth for their baby than for themselves (P<0.001). Only 35% had dental care during pregnancy; 35% had no dental visit for at least two years and 27% reported cost as a major deterrent. Eighteen percent had experienced gingival bleeding before pregnancy and 41% during pregnancy. Gingival bleeding outside pregnancy was clearly related to perceived oral health (P<0.001), but this was less so for bleeding during pregnancy. The latter was not related to age, level of education, employment, marital status, or smoking habits. Only 38% of women with gingival bleeding in pregnancy had a dental care visit in pregnancy and 28% considered their oral health as very good.

Conclusions: Many pregnant women do not perceive gingival bleeding as indicating inflammatory disease and seek no professional help for it. Maternity care providers need to devote more attention to oral health in antenatal clinics and antenatal education.

Corresponding author: Kamila Plutzer, BDS, PhD Australian Research Center for Population Oral Health School of Dentistry University of Adelaide SA 5005 South Australia Tel.: +61 8 8303 3292 Fax: +61 8 8303 4858

Received: 2009-3-16
Revised: 2009-6-1
Accepted: 2009-8-3
Published Online: 2010-01-05
Published in Print: 2010-01-01

©2010 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York

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