Oral health experience during pregnancy and dental service utilization in Bariadi District, Tanzania

  • Ibrahim E.A.T. Mwangosi Muhimbii School of Assistant Denta Officers
  • Mary M. Kiango Bariadi District Hospital
Keywords: pregnancy, oral health, prenatal, dental visits, Tanzania


A substantial proportion of pregnant women reports experiencing oral health problems during pregnancy. However, most of them perceive that such problems are normal in pregnancy and hence do not seek dentist consultation. The objective of this study was to determine the prenatal oral health experience and the utilization of dental care services among pregnant women attending reproductive and child health clinics in Bariadi District in Tanzania. Data was collected using a questionnaire-guided interview. Key variables were socio-demographic characteristics of pregnant women, oral health experience, and dental visits during pregnancy with reasons and treatment received. A total of 305 pregnant women (mean age=25.7 years) were involved in the study. Women with 3 or more children reported oral health problems during pregnancy.  The frequent oral health problems among the pregnant women were bleeding gums (22.6%, N=69), pain in gums (21.6%, N=66), swollen gums (21.3%, N=65), dental pain (30.5, N=93), and tooth decay (25.6%, n=78). However, only 31.8% (N=97) visited a dental clinic for consultation most whom, were those with three or more children (χ2=4.682; P=002). The pregnant women who had visited a dentist in the past 12 months were 11.1% (N=34), mostly those aged >24 years and those with informal employment (P<0.05). Curative and preventive treatments were received more significantly by the urban and with formal employment (P<0.01). In conclusion, pregnant women in Bariadi, Tanzania experiences substantial oral health problems for which they do not often utilize dentists for consultation and management during pregnancy. Dentists and other health workers should therefore, intensify dental screening, emphasizing active family and community participation as part of regular prenatal care.

Author Biographies

Ibrahim E.A.T. Mwangosi, Muhimbii School of Assistant Denta Officers
Principal, Muhimbili School of Assistant Dental Officers
Mary M. Kiango, Bariadi District Hospital
Bariadi District Hospital, Dental Department, Assistant Dental Officer
How to Cite
MwangosiI. E., & KiangoM. M. (2012). Oral health experience during pregnancy and dental service utilization in Bariadi District, Tanzania. Tanzania Journal of Health Research, 14(2). https://doi.org/10.4314/thrb.v14i2.8

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1821-9241
print ISSN: 1821-6404