Purpose: To establish an inventory of knowledge, attitudes and daily pratice of dental and medical practitioners in France regarding oral health care and its relationship to pregnancy, particularly to preterm delivery and low birth-weight infants.
Materials and methods: A questionnaire was distributed to health-care professionals (n= 460), consisting of 100 prenatal care practitioners (obstetricians, midwives) and 360 dentists, about their knowledge of oral alterations during pregnancy, the possible association between periodontal disorders and preterm/low birth weight, and their conduct toward their patients.
Results: Bleeding gums and pregnancy gingivitis were the oral manifestations most often cited by all the practitioners. In contrast, prenatal care practitioners were unaware of epulis and a greater percentage of them than dentists believed caries risk to increase during pregnancy. The most adverse pregnancy outcomes cited were risk of premature delivery and chorioamniotis. Only dentists had received initial training on pregnancy complications. Finally, all health professionals point out the lack of continuing education on this topic.
Conclusion: The present results underline the need for a better initial professional education and continuing education regarding pregnancy and oral health conditions and emphasise the need to update the guidelines in health care practices for pregnant women for a more effective prevention of risk-related adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as pre-term birth or pre-eclampsia.