Background: Epidemiologic reports on dental or oral health in Mali West Africa are rare. The prevalence of periodontal disease (PD) has not been well established among pregnant women in this sub-Saharan nation. Aim: The purpose of this study was three-fold: to describe oral health self-care behaviors; to measure the prevalence of PD; and to determine predictors of PD among pregnant women in southeastern Mali. Methods and Subjects: In this cross-sectional, correlational study, the Ramfjord Periodontal Index (PDI) and the Community Periodontal Index (CPI) were used to assess levels of PD. Seventy-four pregnant women were surveyed for oral self-care behaviors and examined for PD. Results: Almost all women said they brushed their teeth daily. Years of schooling was a statistically significant predictor of brushing frequency (P=0.005). 81% of the women had never had a professional dental exam. Based on the PDI, 24% were diagnosed with gingivitis and 49% with periodontitis. According to the CPI, 47% had pathological pockets in the periodontium. A history of previous oral/dental problems was a predictor of the severity of periodontal disease (P <.001). Conclusion: The presence of periodontal disease among this sample of Malian women was high; oral hygiene behaviors and use of dental professionals were low. Screening for PD should be included as a routine part of antenatal care. Research is needed in Mali to determine if PD is a risk factor for adverse pregnancy outcomes.
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