OBJECTIVE: To identify factors associated with dentists’ counseling of pregnant patients about periodontal health.
METHODS: Survey data from Oregon general dentists (N = 771) were linked to county-level data from the U.S. Area Resource Files and analyzed using two-level hierarchical linear models.
RESULTS: Dentists who believed there is an important relationship between periodontal disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes counseled significantly larger proportions of pregnant patients (p < .0001). Female dentists (p < .05) and those who saw a greater number of pregnant patients (p < .05) were more likely to counsel. County-level health workforce characteristics (e.g., percent female physicians, obstetricians or gynecologists, female dentists) were not significantly associated with dentists’ counseling.
CONCLUSIONS: Dentists who were knowledgeable about periodontal disease were more likely to counsel pregnant patients. Future interventions should improve the oral health knowledge of dentists and other healthcare professionals regarding the importance of comprehensive dental care, including periodontal treatment when needed, for all pregnant patients.