BACKGROUND: Transmission of Streptococcus mutans from mother-to-child can lead to Early Childhood Caries. A previous study identified characteristics and beliefs of general dentists about counseling pregnant women to reduce risk of infection and Early Childhood Caries. This study extends those findings with an analysis of county level factors.
METHODS: In 2006, we surveyed 732 general dentists in Oregon, USA about dental care for pregnant women. Survey items asked about individual and practice characteristics. In the present study we matched those data to county level factors and used multinomial logistic regression to test the effects of the factors (i.e., dentist to population ratio, percentage of female dentists, percentage of females of childbearing age, and percentage of individuals living in poverty) on counseling behavior.
RESULTS: County level factors were unrelated to counseling behavior when the models controlled for dentists’ individual attitudes, beliefs, and practice level characteristics. The adjusted odds ratios for no counseling of pregnant patients (versus 100 percent counseling) were 1.1 (95% CI .8-1.7), 1.0 (1.0-1.1), 1.2 (.9-1.5), and 1.1 (1.0-1.2) for dentist/population ratio, percent female dentists, percent females of childbearing age, and percent in poverty, respectively Similar results were obtained when dentists who counseled some patients were compared to those counseling 100 percent of patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Community level factors do not appear to impact the individual counseling behavior of general dentists in Oregon, USA regarding the risk of maternal transmission of Early Childhood Caries.