Poor dental health impacting on Aboriginal mums

May 31, 2013, University of Adelaide

University of Adelaide researchers are calling for a greater sensitivity towards Aboriginal women in dental clinics and improved accessibility to dental care.

This follows research that finds pregnant Aboriginal women are a vulnerable population who suffer from multiple dental health and social problems.

Associate Professor Lisa Jamieson, Director of the Indigenous Oral Health Unit at the University of Adelaide, studied 446 women pregnant with Aboriginal children and found that:

  • they were six times more likely to need a tooth extraction than those in the general population;
  • they were twice as likely to need fillings;
  • more likely to visit the dentist because of ;
  • nearly two-thirds avoided dental care because of cost; and
  • four our of every five women would have difficulty paying a $100 dental bill.
  • In addition to their oral health problems, Associate Professor Jamieson studied impacting on the women.

She found that nearly 90% were unemployed, almost half did not own a car, more than one third had five or more people staying in their house, a large proportion already had four or more children, and more than two-thirds of the women also cared for children who were not their own.

"Aboriginal women are experiencing profound social and oral compared with the rest of society. This is a group that we really need to worry about," Associate Professor Jamieson says.

"Poor oral health in mothers can place developing and newborn children at risk. For example, pregnant women who have missing or sore teeth feel that they are unable to eat certain foods. This food avoidance means they're often not getting the nutrients they or their baby need.

"Also, although babies are born without bacteria in their mouths, if the mother's oral health is poor, she can pass her bacteria onto the baby at an early stage. The baby's teeth are attacked by bacteria from the mother as the teeth are coming through. This is a serious situation at an early age."

Associate Professor Jamieson says there should be a greater awareness of the impact of on Aboriginal women's general health, as well as a better understanding of their needs in .

"The clinic setting frequently doesn't allow for group visits but we know that the group is important to Aboriginal women, so there should be more flexibility to allow for this. Dental services need to be more sensitive to Aboriginal women's needs more broadly, because they are at the extreme end of the disease profile," she says.

The results of this study are published in the current issue of the Australian Dental Journal.

Explore further: Early dental care can help keep kids smiling for years to come

Related Stories

Early dental care can help keep kids smiling for years to come

February 10, 2013
(HealthDay)—Every baby has a beautiful smile, and to keep it that way, parents should teach good dental habits at an early age, experts say.

Poor oral health can mean missed school, lower grades

August 13, 2012
Poor oral health, dental disease, and tooth pain can put kids at a serious disadvantage in school, according to a new Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC study.

Gum disease joins hot flashes and PMS associated with women's hormones

May 29, 2012
Women, keep those toothbrushes and dental floss handy. A comprehensive review of women's health studies by Charlene Krejci, associate clinical professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, has ...

Preventive dentist visits may not help save on kids' teeth costs

May 28, 2013
It may seem logical that taking children to the dentist for regular preventive check-ups will lead to fewer pricy restorative procedures like filling a cavity. But new findings from the University of Alabama at Birmingham ...

Dental school, foster care agency partnership improves child health, aids student training

October 21, 2012
A partnership between a New York City dental school and a local foster care agency has provided consistent dental care to more than 650 children, and may serve as a model for other dental school program curriculums. The success ...

Common habits that harm your teeth

May 3, 2013
Are you wrecking your teeth without even knowing it? For instance, chewing on ice or opening stuff with your teeth may be convenient but using your teeth as tools can cause them to crack or chip.

Recommended for you

Regrowing dental tissue with stem cells from baby teeth

September 11, 2018
Sometimes kids trip and fall, and their teeth take the hit. Nearly half of children suffer some injury to a tooth during childhood. When that trauma affects an immature permanent tooth, it can hinder blood supply and root ...

The starch risk to teeth

August 7, 2018
An examination of research on oral health, commissioned by the World Health Organisation, has indicated that for oral health we should stick to whole grain carbohydrates and avoid processed ones, especially if sweet.

Experts question benefits of fluoride-free toothpaste

August 7, 2018
Dental health experts worry that more people are using toothpaste that skips the most important ingredient—fluoride—and leaves them at a greater risk of cavities.

Researchers discover cellular messengers communicate with bacteria in the mouth

May 8, 2018
A new UCLA-led study provides clear evidence that cellular messengers in saliva may be able to regulate the growth of oral bacteria responsible for diseases, such as periodontitis and meningitis.

Drug-filled, 3-D printed dentures could fight off infections

April 25, 2018
Nearly two-thirds of the U.S. denture-wearing population suffer frequent fungal infections that cause inflammation, redness and swelling in the mouth.

Bacteria boost antifungal drug resistance in severe childhood tooth decay

April 25, 2018
Early childhood caries, a form of severe tooth decay affecting toddlers and preschoolers, can set children up for a lifetime of dental and health problems. The problem can be significant enough that surgery is the only effective ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.