This article, published in the Spring 2011 issue of the Journal of Public Health Dentistry, provided an overview of a study conducted through a series of focus groups to determine the oral health knowledge of low income women, with specific focus on oral health care during pregnancy as well as for infants. Partially funded by the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Policy Center, the focus groups took place in Maryland in 2009 and the qualitative study was conducted by Jessie Buerlein, Alice Horowitz, and Wendy Child.
Objectives: The objective of this qualitative study was to obtain information on low-income women’s knowledge, beliefs, and practices regarding oral heath during pregnancy and for infant care.
Methods: A professional focus group moderator conducted four focus groups (n = 34) among low-income women in Maryland who were either pregnant or had children aged two and younger. Purposeful sampling and qualitative content analysis were employed.
Results: Women were reasonably well informed about oral health practices for themselves and their children; however, important myths and misperceptions were common. Several themes emerged; a central one being that most women had not received oral health information in time to apply it according to recommended practice.
Conclusions: The focus groups with low-income women provided rich and insightful information and implications for future communication strategies to help prevent dental diseases among pregnant women and their infants.
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