Abstract

Background

Women can experience symptoms of gingival inflammation during pregnancy. However, whether clinical signs of gingival inflammation were present already before pregnancy and whether women perceive an alteration in their periodontal health status during pregnancy compared to their periodontal health status before pregnancy remain unclear.

Objectives

The aim of this study was to evaluate the self-reported periodontal conditions in pregnant Dutch women as perceived before and during pregnancy.

Methods

This cross-sectional survey was performed by asking women visiting two midwifery practices to complete a structured questionnaire. The data, which considered the women’s oral hygiene habits, perceived periodontal health status before and during pregnancy and dental visits, were gathered and analysed. Parametric and nonparametric tests were used when appropriate.

Results

Most of the respondents (mean age: 29.6 years) brushed their teeth twice a day (72.2%), and 62.0% used interdental cleaning devices. Significant differences in periodontal health before and during pregnancy were perceived. No differences with respect to periodontal disease symptoms between the three trimesters during pregnancy were found. The symptom with the greatest increase was bleeding gums. This was followed by symptoms of painful and swollen gums. Of the 61.5% women who disclosed their plans to become pregnant to their dental care practitioner, 53.9% received information regarding the possibility of alterations in oral health status during pregnancy. Because of the perceived alterations in oral health status during pregnancy, approximately 11% of the women scheduled an additional appointment with their dental care professional for advice.

Conclusion

During the pregnancy period, perceived alterations in periodontal health status were reported as compared to the oral health situation before pregnancy. Furthermore, approximately 50% of the women who visited a dental professional and disclosed their (plans) of pregnancy did not receive specific information concerning their periodontal health during pregnancy.

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