Oral Care for Pregnant Patients: A Survey of Dental Hygienists' Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice

Stacey A. Schramm, Mary E. Jacks, Thomas J. Prihoda, Martha J. McComas, Emelda E Hernandez Trevino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the knowledge, attitude and practice behaviors of dental hygienists' providing oral health care to pregnant women.

METHODS: Data was collected from an anonymous electronic survey administered to all Michigan Dental Hygiene Association (MDHA) members (n=1,047). The survey asked questions which assessed dental hygienists knowledge, behaviors and attitudes when providing oral care to pregnant patients. Statistical analysis was conducted correlating years in practice and years since dental hygiene degree with survey questions to identify any correlations.

RESULTS: The response rate was 14.4% (n=150). Results indicated that regardless of years of experience, or level of degree, the majority of the respondents surveyed (64%) desired more education about caring for a pregnant patient. Ninety percent of respondents reported willingness to provide care for pregnant women, and 85% indicated they or their employers agreed to accept referrals to treat pregnant women. Respondents' knowledge indicated the following treatments could be provided throughout pregnancy: Prophylaxis (95.8%), emergency care (92.7%), periodontal treatment (76.3%) and restorative care (61.5%). One question. "dental hygiene services should only be provided during the second trimester," was written in the negative, with a disagree rate of 85.6% indicated a high level of knowledge about this topic.

CONCLUSION: Dental hygienists are in a position to use current findings, protocols and practice guidelines to provide preventive oral health care and advocate for the pregnant patient. This study found continuing education regarding oral health care and pregnancy was desired by many dental hygienists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-127
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of dental hygiene : JDH
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • dental hygienist
  • guidelines
  • infant mortality
  • knowledge
  • low birth weight
  • oral health
  • periodontitis
  • pregnancy
  • prenatal care
  • preterm birth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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