Some pregnant women may be at increased risk of poor oral health. A publicly funded prenatal dental program in Vancouver, British Columbia, called Healthiest Babies Possible (HBP), has been providing oral health education and limited clinical services for over 20 years to low-income women assessed to be at high risk of preterm or low-weight births. This report is an assessment of the initial outcomes.
A prospective before-after evaluation of a non-probability convenience sample of women was undertaken over 1 year (2005-2006). Participants were seen at the customary 2 clinic visits, and were asked to return for a postnatal visit. Data collected by an inside evaluator, the program's dental hygienist, included questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, observations, clinical indices, appointment statistics and self-reports. Univariate and bivariate analyses (Student's t test and ANOVA) were performed.
Of the 67 women in the sample, 61 agreed to participate; 36 (59%) attended all 3 appointments at the clinic, and 40 (66%) completed all 3 interviews and questionnaires either at the clinic or by telephone. Clinical indices of gingival health improved significantly over the time of the evaluation. Improvements in tooth cleaning were demonstrated by a significant decrease in plaque (p