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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Nurse practitioner's and certified nurse midwives' knowledge, opinions and practice behaviors regarding periodontal disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes

Katherine T Wooten, Jessica Lee, Heather Jared, Kim Boggess, Rebecca S Wilder
Journal of Dental Hygiene: JDH 2011, 85 (2): 122-31
21619740

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to assess the knowledge, opinions and practice behaviors of nurse practitioners (NP) and certified nurse midwives (CNM) regarding periodontal disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

METHODS: A 45 item survey was developed, approved, pretested, revised and mailed to 404 North Carolina NPs and CNMs who provide prenatal care. Data was entered into an excel database and transferred to SPSS for Windows for complete analysis. Linear regression modeling was used to determine statistical significance.

RESULTS: A total of 219 NPs and CNMs responded to the mailed survey, achieving a response rate of 54%. NPs and CNMs reported having limited knowledge regarding oral health. The majority felt they should collaborate with oral health care professionals to screen patients for periodontal disease. Most agreed they needed more information about periodontal disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

CONCLUSION: NPs and CNMs who frequently examine women could serve an important role in screening for oral health problems and making appropriate dental health referrals. Increased basic and continuing education could prepare these professionals for collaborative care with oral health care professionals. This study suggests that collaboration between NPs and CNMs with dental professionals could lead to improved oral health care for pregnant patients.

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