PDF: Oral Health Care during Pregnancy

Women experience multiple physiologic changes during pregnancy, including changes in the oral cavity that may adversely affect their oral health. Therefore, it is paramount that prenatal and dental providers discuss oral changes with pregnant women, reinforce positive oral health practices, and assure women that oral health care during pregnancy is safe and important. 

Physicians, nurses, and other medical providers are more likely to see pregnant women and infants than are dental providers, making it essential that they address oral health with these patients and make referrals to dentists, as necessary. Children born to women with poor oral health and high levels of caries-causing bacteria are at high risk for developing dental caries (i.e., tooth decay). 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dental caries remains one of the most prevalent chronic diseases among children in the United States, despite it being preventable. This underscores the prenatal period as an opportune time to educate pregnant women on oral health and to deliver oral health care services. 

These interventions may significantly change the trajectory of oral health for both the woman and her future child.

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