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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Self-reported oral health and dental service utilization of vulnerable pregnant women registering for the prenatal public health program in Fraser Health, BC, Canada Jessani, Abbas Ali


Objective: To determine the baseline self-reported oral health and dental service utilization of pregnant women from diverse ethno cultural backgrounds within the geographical are of the Fraser Health Authority in British Columbia, Canada. Method: A prospective 34-item cross-sectional survey was administered to all the women enrolling for a prenatal registration program between October 2012 and January 2013. For data analysis, a two-sample t-test was used, and categorical variables were tested using a chi-square test. Multivariable logistic regressions were used to estimate the odds ratio. Results: A total of 740 pregnant women filled out the questionnaire. The majority (84%) of the respondents rated their oral health as good or excellent. Fifty two percent of the women had visited dental professional during last year. Almost 1/3 of those reporting symptoms of depression rated their oral health as fair or poor. Forty-one percent reported having bleeding gums, 22% experienced tooth sensitivity, and 13% had persistent dry mouth since the beginning of their pregnancy. When asked about the beliefs associated with pregnancy, 37% of the respondents expected bleeding gums, and 34% expected tooth sensitivity. Women born in India had visited a dental professional 2.8 times more often than women who had been born elsewhere. Those with dental insurance were 6.6 times more likely to visit a dentist than those without insurance. Conclusion: The majority of pregnant women considered dental care during pregnancy to be very important and had previously visited a dental professional within the last year. However, more than 1/3 had experienced one or more oral problems while more than half held false beliefs about the effects of pregnancy upon oral health. These reported oral beliefs and problems could be addressed with patient education during routine pre-natal care and subsequent referral to a dentist if needed.

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