Development of Perinatal Oral Health (PERIOH) - Guidelines for Prenatal Care Providers and Dentists

Oral health care during pregnancy is important yet in Australia pregnant women rare seek dental care during pregnancy.  This low uptake of dental services has mainly been attributed to various barriers facing pregnant women such as cost, lack of awareness and misconceptions.  Yet, new research reveals that there are significant provider barriers that further exacerbate the problem.  A review has shown there is no clear consensus among dentists and prenatal care providers regarding perinatal oral health care.  There is also a lack of emphasis being placed on oral health within maternity care in Australia.  These issues can further deter pregnant women from seeking dental care.  Significant work has already been undertaken by the study investigators to promote perinatal oral health in Australia with the help of midwives and dentists (MIOH program).  However, to complement strategies in this area it is vital that practice guidelines in perinatal oral health be developed for all dental and prenatal care providers in Australia.  Such guidelines will help alleviate any concerns health professionals may have and ensure pregnant women receive a consistent message about the importance or oral health.

The aim of this study is to develop, implement and evaluate perinatal oral health (PERIOH) guidelines for antenatal (midwives/general practitioners/obstetricians) and dental care providers in Australia.


Western Sydney University

NSW Centre for Oral Health Strategy

Australian Dental Association (NSW)

Philips Australia

WCH flow chart image 

Research Team

Dr Ajesh George, Western Sydney University, SWSLHD, University of Sydney, Ingham Institute

Prof Maree Johnson, Western Sydney University, SWSLHD, Ingham Institute

Prof Hannah Dahlen, Western Sydney University

Dr Shilpi Ajwani, S & SWSLHD Oral Health Services, Sydney Dental Hospital

Dr Sameer Bhole, S & SWSLHD Oral Health Services, Sydney Dental Hospital

Professor Jenny Reath, Western Sydney University

Dr Andrew Korda, Western Sydney University


Western Sydney University

South Western Sydney Local Health District

Ingham Institute Applied Medical Research

Sydney Dental Hospital

Sydney Local Health District

NSW Centre for Oral Health Strategy

Australian Dental Association (NSW)

Philips Australia 

Research output

  •  2 publications
  • 1 competitive grant (Western Sydney University partnership grant)

Key Publications

George, A., Johnson, M., Reath, J., Dahlen, H., Bhole, S., Ajwani, S. & Korda, A., (2013) Oral Health Care During Pregnancy. Australian Nursing Journal (special issue women's health/midwifery), 21 (3): 42.

George, A., Shamim, S., Johnson, M., Dahlen, H., Ajwani, S., Bhole, S., Yeo, A.E. (2012) How Do Dental and Prenatal Care Practitioners Perceive Dental Care During Pregnancy? Current Evidence and Implications. Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care, 39 (3), 238-247.

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