Anecdotal and scientific evidence have shown that many women receive little or no dental care during pregnancy.
This apparent lack of dental care and the need for such care among expectant mothers is the catalyst for projects such as the CenteringPregnancyTM OralHealth Promotion Extension (CPOPE) study.
Researchers first developed a curriculum in an earlier study aimed at improving the oral health of pregnant women and their soon-to-be-born children that could be integrated into an existing prenatal care program within the CenteringPregnancyTM (CP) group care model.
In this initial study, known simply as CPOP or CenteringPregnancyTM Oral Health Promotion (PI: Sally Adams, R21DE019211), researchers and CP staff worked together to develop the curriculum and train CP nurse facilitators to deliver the curriculum to expectant mothers attending their groups.
The facilitators employed interactive, educational activities such as practicing tooth brushing and flossing techniques to transmit information and best practices.
CPOPE is a follow-up study that builds on this earlier work by assessing the oral health of the babies born to those mothers who participated in the CPOP study and adding non-CPOP and non-CP mother-child pairs as a comparison group.
CPOPE researchers compare the salivary bacteria of 6-month-old babies belonging to mothers who received the CPOP curriculum to 6-month-old babies whose mothers did not.
Researchers then reexamine the mothers and infants in these two groups after the babies have turned 12 months.
It is hypothesized that babies belonging to expectant mothers who received the CPOP curriculum will have fewer cavity-causing bacteria in their saliva at 6 and 12 months than those babies whose mothers received no training.
These findings can help researchers to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of integrating a oral health promotion program within a prenatal care regimen.
The CPOPE study has enrolled 80 infant-mother pairs.