Objectives: To assess how obstetrician-gynecologists address oral health during pregnancy.
Methods: Questionnaires were mailed to obstetrician-gynecologists in March 2008.
Results: The response rate was 41%, with 351 respondents included in the final analysis. Most obstetrician-gynecologists agree that routine dental care during pregnancy is important (84%), periodontal disease can have adverse effects on pregnancy outcome (84%), and treating periodontal disease positively affects pregnancy outcome (66%). The majority seldom ask pregnant patients whether they have recently seen a dentist (73%), ask about current oral health (54%), or provide information about oral care (69%). Over a third (38%) do not advise patients to see a dentist for routine prophylaxis, 80% of these saying they had not previously thought about it. Most respondents (77%) reported having patients be declined dental services because of pregnancy. Over half (52%) indicated lack of insurance as a substantial barrier to oral care.
Conclusion: Obstetrician-gynecologists recognize the importance of good oral health during pregnancy but largely do not address it. Improved training in the importance of oral health, recognizing oral health problems, and knowledge of procedure safety during pregnancy may make doctors more comfortable with assessing oral health and more likely to address it with patients.