Self-reported oral hygiene habits, dental attendance and attitudes to dentistry during pregnancy in a sample of immigrant women in North London
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The aim of this study was to describe self-reported oral health, oral hygiene habits, frequency of visits to a dentist and factors associated with dental attendance among pregnant women at a North London Hospital, the majority of whom are immigrants.
Peridontal disease is associated with an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. The aim of this study is to describe self-reported oral health, oral hygiene habits, frequency of visits to a dentist and factors associated with dental attendance among pregnant women at a North London Hospital, the majority of whom are immigrants.
Materials and methods
A questionnaire designed by the authors was completed by postnatal women within 3 days of delivery. Data collected included past dental attendance, reasons for attendance and information about age, parity and socio-economic group.
In total, 206 women completed the questionnaires within 3 days of delivery; 74.2% of the mothers were not born in the UK and 38.3% were Black African. The mean age of was 28.19 ± 6.07 years. The majority reported good oral hygiene habits such as brushing their teeth twice a day (73.7%) and using mouthwash (51%). However, their dental attendance was poor and the average time since their last visit to a dentist was 1.8 ± 1.61 years. Over a third of the women questioned did not know about the availability of free dental care during pregnancy and for 12 months after; 33% visited a dentist in pregnancy and half of them needed and received treatment; 15% of mothers had more than one pregnancy and yet were still unaware of free dental care provided during pregnancy and 12 months after birth. Only 36% of questioned women regularly visited a dentist. Pregnancy did little to change their attitudes to dental care. There appears no difference in attitudes to dental care between immigrant and British born pregnant women.
Efforts to improve the uptake of dental care should be directed towards immigrant groups in order to promote better maternal health. Further research is required into the provision of dental care during pregnancy, as the high level of non-attendance demonstrated by mothers is undesirable.
KeywordsOral hygiene Dental attendance Pregnancy Immigrants
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