Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics

, Volume 277, Issue 5, pp 405–409 | Cite as

Self-reported oral hygiene habits, dental attendance and attitudes to dentistry during pregnancy in a sample of immigrant women in North London

  • Esther Hullah
  • Yaroslava Turok
  • Maud Nauta
  • Wai Yoong
Original Article



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.


Oral hygiene Dental attendance Pregnancy Immigrants 


  1. 1.
    Xiong X, Buekens P, Fraser WD, Beck J, Offenbacher S (2006) Periodontal disease, adverse pregnancy outcome: a systematic review. BJOG 113:135–143PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Office of Population Consensus and Surveys (OPCS) (1980) Classification of occupations. HMSO, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Offenbacher S, Boggess KA, Murtha AP, Jared HL, Lieff S, McKaig RG, et al (2006) Progressive periodontal disease and risk of very preterm delivery. Obstet Gynecol 107:29–36PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Pirie M, Cooke I, Linden G, Irwin C (2007) Dental manifestations of pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol 9:21–26Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Dasanayake AP (1998) Poor periodontal health of pregnant women as a risk factor for low birth weight. Ann Periodontol 3:206–12PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Sembene M, Moreau JC, Mbaye MM, Diallo A, Diallo PD, Ngom M, et al (2000) Periodontal infection in pregnant women and low birth weight babies. Odontostomatol Trop 23:19–22Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Mitchell-Lewis D, Engebretson SP, Chen J, Lamster IB, Papanou PN (2001) Periodontal infections and pre term birth: early findings form a cohort of young minority women in New York. Eur J Oral Sci 109:34–39PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Lopez NJ, Smith PC, Gutierrez J (2002) Peridontal therapy may reduce the risk of preterm low birth weight in women with periodontal disease: a randomised controlled trial. J Peridontol 73:911–924CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Moore S, Ide M, Coward PY, Randhawa M, Borkowska E, Bayliss R, et al (2004) A prospective study to investigate the relationship periodontal disease and adverse pregnancy outcome. Br Dent J 197:251–258PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bruce Newbold K, Patel A (2006) Use of dental services by immigrant canadians. J Can Dent Assoc 72(3):143PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Esther Hullah
    • 1
  • Yaroslava Turok
    • 1
  • Maud Nauta
    • 1
  • Wai Yoong
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyNorth Middlesex University HospitalLondonUK

Personalised recommendations