Health Promotion Journal of Australia Health Promotion Journal of Australia Society
Journal of the Australian Health Promotion Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Views of pregnant women in South Western Sydney towards dental care and an oral-health program initiated by midwives

Ajesh George A E , Maree Johnson A , Anthony Blinkhorn B , Shilpi Ajwani C , Sharon Ellis D and Sameer Bhole C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Applied Nursing Research, University of Western Sydney, South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) and Ingham Institute Applied Medical Research, Locked Bag 7103, Liverpool BC, NSW 1871, Australia.

B Population Oral Health, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Sydney, 1 Mons Road, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia.

C Sydney and South Western Sydney LHD and Sydney Dental Hospital, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Sydney, Locked Mail Bag 7279, Liverpool BC, NSW 1871, Australia.

D Camden and Campbelltown Hospitals, SWSLHD, Therry Road, Campbelltown, NSW 2560, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email: ajesh.george@sswahs.nsw.gov.au

Health Promotion Journal of Australia 24(3) 178-184 https://doi.org/10.1071/HE13040
Submitted: 16 May 2013  Accepted: 20 September 2013   Published: 4 December 2013

Abstract

Issues addressed: Oral health during pregnancy is important, yet is often neglected by women. A program is currently being developed for midwives in Australia to promote maternal oral health. The aim of this study was to record the views of pregnant women in Australia towards dental care and midwives promoting oral health.

Methods: Using convenience sampling, a cross-sectional survey was undertaken of 241 pregnant women attending a metropolitan hospital in South Western Sydney in 2010.

Results: Only 10% of women received oral-health promotional material during pregnancy. More than 50% reported dental problems, yet only 17% had discussed this with their midwives and less than half (44.6%) had sought dental treatment. The main barriers to obtaining dental care were: lack of awareness, safety concerns about dental treatment and dental costs. Pregnant women were more likely (P < 0.05) to see a dentist if they had received information about oral health (odds ratio (OR) 3.25, 95% CI 1.34–7.90) and had private health insurance (OR 2.47, 95% CI 1.26–4.85). Most women (> 90%) were receptive to midwives providing oral-health education, assessments and referrals to affordable dental services.

Conclusion: This study has shown that pregnant women are receiving limited dental advice and are concerned about dental costs. It has also confirmed for the first time in Australia that women are very positive about receiving oral-health advice from midwives during their pregnancy.

So what?: Oral-health promotion programs during pregnancy should consider using midwives to increase dental awareness among women and provide pathways to affordable dental services.

Keywords: antenatal care, Australia, pregnancy.


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