Exploring dental graduates' knowledge and attitudes towards maternal oral health and its relationship to maternal and child health
Keywords:Maternal health, oral health, periodontitis,, pregnancy complications, early childhood caries.
Introduction and Aim: Pregnancy is a critical period in women's lives and presents complex physiological changes that can influence oral health and vice versa. Integrating education on maternal oral health into dental curricula can help ensure comprehensive care for both pregnant women and their children by equipping dental graduates with the knowledge and skills to address the unique oral health challenges faced by expectant mothers. In this study, a cross-sectional survey was conducted to assess the knowledge and attitudes of graduating dental students regarding maternal oral health and its impact on both mothers and infants.
Materials and Methods: The study was conducted in a dental college in southern India. 100 graduating dental students completed a structured questionnaire.
Results: 95% of students acknowledged the influence of maternal oral health on both mothers and infants, and 12% displayed a high level of knowledge. However, the average mean score obtained was 63.58% and knowledge gaps were observed in areas such as drug interactions, early childhood caries, and reducing oral bacterial load in expectant mothers. Despite this, 91% believed paediatric dentists should be part of perinatal care teams to promote maternal oral health awareness.
Conclusion: This study emphasizes the importance of education and integrating dental professionals in prenatal and antenatal care for improved oral health outcomes.
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