Obstetric Providers' Role in Prenatal Oral Health Counseling and Referral.Am J Health Behav. 2019 11 01; 43(6):1162-1170.AJ
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.