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J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2011 May;23(5):249-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2011.00606.x. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

Improving oral health in low-income pregnant women with a nurse practitioner-directed oral care program.

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Department of Nursing, Saint Louis University, and Department of OB-GYN Clinic, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri 63104, USA.



To test the effectiveness of an advanced practice nurse model of care to improve oral health in low-income pregnant women.


Pregnant women (n=170) were randomized to either control or experimental group in a hospital-based inner city clinic in the Midwest. Participants completed pretest and posttest questionnaires. Those in the experimental group participated in an educational session, received dental supplies, and were scheduled for an oral care appointment. Descriptive statistics, paired samples t-tests, and Pearson's chi-square test were used to analyze the data.


Knowledge scores showed a small positive trend while favorable self-perception of oral health increased significantly in the experimental group. The experimental group demonstrated a significant increase in frequency of brushing and flossing teeth, marked reduction in intake of high sugar drinks, and reported more than twice as many visits for a dental check-up than the control group. Significant barriers to obtaining oral health services were identified.


Because adverse pregnancy outcomes have been linked to periodontitis in numerous research studies, pregnant women must be educated about the importance of oral health and the necessity of a check-up. APNs are in an ideal position to educate women and assist them to obtain necessary oral health services.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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