Dental neglect and adverse birth outcomes: A validation and observational study

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Objectives: The objectives of this study were to validate the Indian translation of the Dental Neglect Scale (DNS) among a sample of parturient Indian women and to investigate dental neglect as a possible risk indicator in adverse birth outcomes. Subjects and methods: Three hundred and sixteen parturient women were administered the DNS and the Modified Dental Beliefs Scale (MDBS) and were also clinically examined for oral health status. Information regarding socio-economic status, weeks of gestation and birth weight was also collected. A gestation period of less than 37 weeks was considered as preterm and a birth weight of less than 2500 gm as 'low birth weight'. Results: The Indian version of the DNS was found to be reliable (Cronbach's Alpha = 0.72) and valid for assessing dental neglect among the women. Factor analysis of the DNS revealed a two-factor structure accounting for 56% variance. Dental neglect was higher among those with poorer oral health status, lower socio-economic and educational status. Multinomial logistic regression showed high dental neglect and negative dental beliefs and not poor oral health, as significant risk indicators for occurrence of adverse birth outcomes. Conclusion: The finding of an association of adverse birth outcomes with dental neglect and beliefs, but not with poor oral health could be due to the influence of other more important general factors which had a direct bearing on birth outcomes. There is a need for further research to assess the role of behavioural factors like dental neglect as risk indicators for adverse birth outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Dental Hygiene
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01-05-2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dentistry (miscellaneous)


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