Addressing preventive oral health for pregnant women, childbearing age females & children age zero to six in primary care

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Nursing


Most oral health disease is preventable despite the availability of effective prevention and treatment (Nathe, 2016). Oral health conditions are becoming a silent epidemic and during pregnancy the risk increases for oral disease (Qualis Health, 2015; Vamos, Walsh, Thompson, Daley, Detman, & DeBate, 2015). About 40% of pregnant women have a varying form of periodontal disease (Lieff et al., 2004). The social impact on school-age children substantially affects their academics, as more than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental related illnesses (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2003). The purpose of this project was to educate providers, nurses, and patients in a primary care clinic on the importance of oral health care and to create simple referral process for at risk patients. The author gave a pretest on oral health best practice to seven primary care nurses. After the pretest, the author gave an oral health education seminar. The nurses took a posttest based on content from the educational seminar. Patients who met the inclusion criteria were given oral health surveys to determine oral health status and need for referral to a dentist. Six of the seven nurses completed the seminar and testing showing a higher post-seminar test score. The V-statistic of 21 showed a p-value of 0.0178 suggesting strong evidence the nurses' scores tended to be higher after the seminar. Of the nineteen adults surveyed regarding their oral health status, 62% showed good oral health behaviors. Of the eleven pediatric patients surveyed regarding their oral health status, 75% answered positive oral health behaviors. The literature supported the value of oral health education in primary care. Awareness was created in the clinic with the use of posters and educational packets given to all participating patients. There is a great need for preventive oral health education to primary care providers, pregnant women, childbearing age females, and parents of children. Current research on the value of preventive oral health education and dental care is needed in primary care.




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