March 20, 2018
by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
A new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggests that primary care physicians may feel underequipped to provide adequate oral health counseling to pregnant women. Poor maternal oral health can have significant impacts on a woman’s overall health and the health of her children.
Dr. Gentry Byrd and Dr. Rocio Quinonez of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry co-authored a paper, published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal on March 17, that investigates prenatal oral health counseling by primary care physicians. This is the first study to provide national estimates and predictors of their prenatal oral health counseling. The study used data from the 2013 Survey of Primary Care Physicians on Oral Health by the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ (U.S. HHS) Office of Women’s Health.
More than 350 primary care physicians across the country who treat pregnant women were surveyed. The authors found that while many primary care physicians addressed prenatal oral health in the form of counseling, and agreed that preventive dental care is very important, just 45 percent of respondents felt prepared to identify oral health issues and counsel pregnant patients on the importance of oral health.
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