Pregnancy and Oral Health

In a recent study in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, scientists tracked the results of a new model of prenatal care, which incorporated dental care for a group of women in rural Kentucky.

Oral health is commonly overshadowed by the other forms of care that women require during pregnancy, including doctors visits, ultrasounds, nutritional care, vitamins and smoking cessation. But a mother’s dental health is actually a crucial factor for the health of her growing fetus. In fact, studies have shown that mothers with periodontal disease may be up to 7 times more likely to deliver a premature or low birthweight baby. And as most women are unaware that they have a periodontal infection, it is crucial that oral care be attended to in pregnant women.

Authors of the Journal of Health study reported that at the first dental examination nearly 70% of the women had cavities, but by 34-38 weeks oral health had improved considerably. Data from the study also revealed lower rates of preterm birth and low birth weight were observed among participants who had received oral health care than in the general population.

This article lists the following helpful tips on how to maintain good oral health throughout pregnancy:

  • Visit your dentist for regular check ups and cleanings. This is the best way to make sure that you are maintaining good oral hygiene.
  • Brush your teeth properly at least twice a day to remove plaque.
  • Floss your teeth daily. Flossing will remove food debris from in between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse. Antimicrobial mouth rinses can help prevent gingivitis.
  • Brush or scrape your tongue daily to help remove bacteria.
  • Eat nutritious meals and healthy snacks.

Have resources or thoughts to share? Join the discussion
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Written by Haley Newman, Intern & Tufts University student

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