Knowledge, Attitude and Perception of Pregnant Women about Early Childhood Caries in Tshwane District, South Africa

Tshepiso Mfolo
Department of Community Dentistry, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Aim: To assess the knowledge, attitudes and perception of pregnant women in relation to early childhood caries

Methodology: A cross sectional analytical study design was utilized. A validated, standardized and self-administered questionnaire was issued to illicit information about pregnant women’s knowledge, attitudes and perceptions about early childhood caries. Pregnant women at two randomly selected government clinics in Tshwane District, Gauteng Province completed the self-administered questionnaires. The questionnaire was divided into 4 sections comprising of demographic data, knowledge, attitude and perception about early childhood caries. Participation in the study was voluntary and all data obtained was used anonymously to ensure strict confidentiality.

Results: A total of 247 pregnant women participated in the study and the mean age was 29.3 years. Less than a third of the respondents (27.8%) were expecting their first child. The majority (74.9%) had knowledge of what causes dental caries and most (83.1%) agreed that primary teeth are important. Regular dental check-ups were reported to be necessary for children (64.5%), however, only 13.3 % knew the best age for a child’s first visit to the dentist. More than half of the pregnant women (69.8%) reported to brush their teeth twice daily and rated their oral health as good despite the finding that only 12.9% of them had visited a dentist in the last 6 months. A few (29.4%) of the respondents received dental education at antenatal visits and the majority (94.4 %) expressed willingness to learn more about children’s dental health during antenatal visits.

Conclusion: Gaps exist in dental knowledge, which highlights the need for more intense dental health education in antenatal clinics. The attitudes and perception about early childhood caries were adequate.

Tshepiso Mfolo