Children, Early childhood caries, Oral health, Oral hygiene practices, Pregnancy, Young mothers
Citation Information :
Chalvatzoglou E, Anagnostou F, Arapostathis K, Boka V, Arhakis A. Assessment of Young Mothers’ Oral Hygiene Practices during Pregnancy and Their Knowledge of Children's Oral Health in Northern Greece. J Contemp Dent Pract 2023; 24 (3):202-206.
Aim: The aim of the study was to assess maternal knowledge about oral health practices for children along with oral hygiene perceptions of mothers during pregnancy in the city of Thessaloniki, Greece.
Materials and methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among 300 newly delivered mothers who were admitted to the obstetrician/gynecological (OB/GYN) University Clinic in Thessaloniki, Greece, to give birth. A three-part, self-reported, 40-item questionnaire was designed, collecting socioeconomic data, perceptions, and practices regarding maternal oral hygiene during pregnancy and their knowledge in relation to children's oral health. Collected data were recorded, tabulated, and statistically analyzed with SPSS (Version 24.0), and p < 0.05 was accepted as statistically significant.
Results: The sample consisted of mainly Greek, married, university alumni mothers less than 35 years of age. Self-reports of oral hygiene practices during gestation were sufficient but an inadequate level of regular dental visits was recorded. Poor knowledge was equally noted, regarding children's oral health, in the domains of fluoride toothpaste usage, the age of the first dental visit, supervised toothbrushing, nighttime breastfeeding, potential hazards of pacifier use, and thumb sucking. All factors were significantly associated with the mothers’ education level (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Newly-delivered mothers presented with a lack of knowledge regarding mother/caregiver-related risk factors associated with early childhood caries (ECC), the timing of establishing a dental home, and misconceptions about the safety of dental visits during pregnancy.
Clinical significance: Healthcare professionals interacting with pregnant women or young mothers are a vital element to bridge the existing gap in knowledge and assist those socially and educationally deprived.
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