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Obstetric Providers' Role in Prenatal Oral Health Counseling and Referral

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Objectives: In this study, we explored what Maryland obstetric (OB) residents and certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) know, understand, and counsel pregnant women about oral health. We also examined the frequency with which they refer patients to dentists and their perspectives on barriers to prenatal dental care. Methods: This qualitative descriptive study used one-on-one phone interviews to identify providers' perspectives about the need for prenatal dental care, reasons low-income pregnant women do not receive care, and recommendations for increasing dental care. We interviewed 32 providers between June 2017 and March 2018. Results: Most providers were unaware of the importance of and need for prenatal dental care. Most did not discuss dental care with their patients and some admitted being inadequately trained to do so. Both provider groups were positive about actions they could take to increase pregnant patients' dental care-seeking. Conclusions: For OB residents and CNMs to play an important role in improving pregnant patients' oral health they must have adequate oral health literacy, receive appropriate training in medical and nursing school, possess oral health educational materials for their patients, and have a list of dental providers who accept their insurance.
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Keywords: DENTAL HEALTH; DISEASE PREVENTION; ORAL HEALTH LITERACY; PRENATAL CARE; PRENATAL ORAL HEALTH

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Alice M. Horowitz, Research Associate Professor, University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, MD;, Email: [email protected] 2: Wendy Child, Consultant, College Park, MD 3: Catherine Maybury, Faculty Research Assistant, University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, MD

Publication date: November 1, 2019

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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