Survey of medical doctors' attitudes and knowledge of the association between oral health and pregnancy outcomes

Int J Dent Hyg. 2008 Aug;6(3):214-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-5037.2008.00320.x.


Objectives: The study was designed to assess the views and knowledge of healthcare providers in general medicine and other specialties on the association between oral health and pregnancy outcomes.

Material and methods: Two hundred and fifty physicians practicing in northern Jordan hospitals and healthcare centers were asked to complete a questionnaire. Completed questionnaires with the answers were returned completed by 197 participants (response rate was 79%).

Results: The majority of the physicians (81%) agreed that pregnancy increases the tendency to have gingival inflammation. However, 88% of doctors advised delay dental treatment until after pregnancy. Only half (54%) thought that tooth and gums problem can affect the outcomes of pregnancy. Moreover, approximately 50% agreed with the possible association between oral health and pregnancy outcomes. Altogether, 52% agreed with the statement 'a tooth for a baby' and 57% believed that calcium will be drawn by the developing baby. If asked to advise patient to visit dentist during pregnancy, 50% said they would do so. Moreover, the majority (68%) did not advise women planning to become pregnant to include a periodontal evaluation as part of their prenatal care. About 32% felt that periodontal disease can be treated safely during pregnancy with a procedure called scaling and root planning. Reading the information in a book, magazine or pamphlet was useful and reliable information about preterm births and periodontal disease. Physicians do not routinely advise their patient to seek dental care during pregnancy. General practitioners were less informed about oral health practices on pregnant women. Issues on training need to be addressed. A public health campaign is required to educate healthcare providers to encourage pregnant women on the need for a regular dental check-up during and prior to attempting pregnancy.

Conclusion: There is a need to educate healthcare personnel further about oral health and pregnancy outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Scaling
  • Education, Dental
  • Education, Medical
  • Family Practice / education
  • Female
  • Gingivitis / complications
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oral Health*
  • Periodontal Diseases / complications
  • Periodontal Diseases / therapy
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Preconception Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Premature Birth / prevention & control
  • Prenatal Care
  • Root Planing
  • Safety
  • Specialization
  • Tooth Diseases / complications