Purpose: To evaluate the knowledge and practices of Swiss women regarding oral health during pregnancy.
Keywords: education, oral health, pregnancy, self-care
Materials and Methods: Self-reported questionnaires were attributed to 385 women from 4 public hospitals in the French speaking part of Switzerland from February 2015 to June 2016.The questionnaire consisted of 32 questions including demographic characteristics, oral health habits and awareness of oral changes during pregnancy.
Results: The majority of women (64%) were in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy and had a university education (41%). Oral health was considered very important for half of the women (52%) and moderately important for 38% of them. 71% of the women did not notice any change concerning their oral health conditions. Of the remaining 29%, gingival bleeding was the main symptom reported, followed by gingival redness and oedema. Pain and sensitivity were also reported by a few participants. Most of the pregnant women attended dental appointments during their pregnancy, but not on a regular basis, mainly because of lack of time. Almost half of the population had an adequate oral hygiene routine and adapted their eating habits to a much healthier pattern during pregnancy. A large proportion of the participants (71%) was aware that pregnancy renders teeth and gums more vulnerable and that oral health is related to adverse pregnancy outcomes. However, this information was rarely imparted to them by health professionals.
Conclusion: Although pregnant women in the French speaking part of Switzerland seem to be moderately informed about the importance of oral health during pregnancy, health-care professionals do not seem to participate actively. Health professionals need to more actively inform pregnant patients about the importance of preventive oral health measures and oral health care during pregnancy.