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Oral Health During Pregnancy

photo of Pregnant woman

This collection of selected resources offers high-quality information about pregnancy and oral health. Use the tools below for further searching, or contact us for personalized assistance.

Key Facts

  Share these facts to help improve the oral health of pregnant women.

  • Oral health is essential to overall health in the prenatal period. 1

  • Oral health care during pregnancy is a shared responsibility among prenatal care health professionals, oral health professionals, and pregnant women. 2

  • Efforts to inform health professionals about the connection between oral health and overall health during pregnancy should focus on effectively disseminating strategies that translate evidence-based guidelines into clinical practice, with the ultimate goal of improving oral-systemic health among women and children. 3

  • Dentists who are knowledgeable about periodontal disease are more likely to counsel their patients who are pregnant about periodontal health. Future interventions should focus on improving the oral health knowledge of dentists and other health professionals about the importance of comprehensive oral health care, including periodontal treatment when needed, for all pregnant women. 4

  • For many women, treatment of oral disease during pregnancy is particularly important because dental insurance may only be available to them during pregnancy or up to 2 months postpartum. 1

  • Prenatal visits can be used as an opportunity to encourage pregnant women to seek preventive oral health care during pregnancy. 5

  • There is no indication that preventive or restorative oral health treatment during any trimester of pregnancy can harm the mother or the developing fetus. Despite this, routine oral health care is often avoided or postponed for the duration of pregnancy. 2

  • Women need accurate information about the importance of practicing good oral health habits throughout their lives as well as about the importance and safety of receiving oral health care during pregnancy. 6

  • Intensive oral hygiene regimens decrease the incidence of gingivitis among pregnant women. 7

  • Pregnant women with low incomes and those who are Hispanic have higher rates of tooth decay than those with higher incomes and those who are white, respectively. 8

References

  1. Kloetzel MK, H, Huebner CE, Milgrom P. 2011. Referrals for dental care during pregnancy. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health. 56(2):110–117.
  2. Rainchuso L. 2013. Improving oral health outcomes from pregnancy through infancy. Journal of Dental Hygiene 87(6):330–335.
  3. Vamos CA, Walsh ML, Thompson E, Daley EM, Detman L, DeBate R. 2015. Oral-systemic health during pregnancy: Exploring prenatal and oral health providers’ information, motivation and behavioral skills. Maternal and Child Health Journal 19(6):1263–1275.
  4. Chi DL, Milgrom P, Carle AC, Huebner CE, Mancl LA. 2014. Multilevel factors associated with dentists' counseling of pregnant women about periodontal health. Special Care Dentistry 34(1):2–6.
  5. Azofeifa A, Yeung LF, Alverson CJ, Beltrán-Aguilar E. 2014. Oral health conditions and dental visits among pregnant and nonpregnant women of childbearing age in the United States, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2004. Preventing Chronic Disease 11:E163.
  6. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Women’s Health Care Physicians; Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women. 2013. Committee opinion No. 569: Oral health care during pregnancy and through the lifespan. Obstetrics and Gynecology 122(2 Pt 1):417–422.
  7. Geisinger ML, Geurs NC, Bain JL, Kaur M, Vassilopoulos PJ, Cliver SP, Hauth JC, Reddy MS. 2014. Oral health education and therapy reduces gingivitis during pregnancy. Journal of Clinical Periodontology 41(2):141–148.
  8. Chung LH, Gregorich, SE, Armitage GC, Gonzalez-Vargas J, Adams SH. 2014. Sociodemographic disparities and behavioral factors in clinical oral health status during pregnancy. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology 42(2):151–159.

OHRC Publications

This section contains OHRC-produced materials.


Details

Casamassimo P, Holt K, eds. 2016. Bright Futures: Oral health—Pocket guide (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, 90 pp

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available from the website.

This pocket guide offers health professionals an overview of preventive oral health supervision for five periods—pregnancy and postpartum, infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence. The pocket guide is designed to help health professionals implement specific oral health guidelines during these periods. For each period, information about family preparation, risk assessment, interview questions, screening, examination, preventive procedures, anticipatory guidance, measurable outcomes, and referrals are discussed. The content aligns with Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents (4th ed.). [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]


Details

Holt K, Clark M, Barzel R. 2009. Two healthy smiles: Tips to keep you and your baby healthy (rev.). Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, 2 pp

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available at no charge; also available from the website.

This brochure is designed to educate women about the importance of oral hygiene and oral health care during pregnancy. Topics include brushing, flossing, eating healthy foods, and getting dental check-ups and treatment. Additional topics include the impact of hormonal changes during pregnancy on gum health, caring for an infant’s gums and teeth, and finding a dentist. The brochure is available in English and Spanish. [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]


Details

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center. 2015–. Promoting oral health care during pregnancy: An update on activities. Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, multiple items

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available from the website.

This series provides an overview of activities to promote oral health during pregnancy. The series discusses efforts of federal agencies and national, state, and local organizations to launch programs, advance policy, and disseminate Oral Health During Pregnancy: A National Consensus Statement to ensure that both health professionals and pregnant women are aware of the importance and safety of receiving oral health care during pregnancy. A list of resources focused on promoting oral health during pregnancy and infancy is included. [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]


Details

Oral Health During Pregnancy Expert Workgroup. 2012. Oral health care during pregnancy: A national consensus statement. Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, Multiple items

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available from the website.

This resource includes a consensus statement that resulted from an expert workgroup meeting held on October 18, 2011, in Washington, DC, convened by the Health Resources and Services Administration in collaboration with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Dental Association. It contains guidance on oral health care for pregnant women for both prenatal care health professionals and oral health professionals, pharmacological considerations for pregnant women, and guidance for health professionals to share with pregnant women. [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]


Details

Oral Health During Pregnancy Expert Workgroup. 2012–. Tips for good oral health during pregnancy. Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, 2 pp

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available from the website.

This tip sheet provides information and resources to help women take care of their oral health during pregnancy. Topics include getting oral health care, practicing good oral hygiene, eating healthy foods, and practicing other healthy behaviors. The tip sheet also encourages women to take care of their infant’s gums and teeth and ask their pediatric care health professional to check their infant’s mouth starting at age 6 months. A list of resources is included. The tip sheet is available in Arabic, Chinese, Chuukese, English, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, and Vietnamese. [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]

     


OHRC Library

This section contains recent materials, not including OHRC-produced materials.


Details

Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin. 2016. 2015 Wisconsin perinatal-infant oral health summit: Summary report and statewide plan. Milwaukee, WI: Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin, 27 pp

Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin
620 South 76th Street, Suite 120
Milwaukee, WI 53214

Telephone: (414) 292-4000
Secondary Telephone: (414) 337-4561
Fax: (414) 231-4972
Website: http://www.chawisconsin.org/oral-health.php?pg=13
Available from the website.

This report summarizes information from a summit held on September 9, 2015, to brainstorm strategies for improving oral health for pregnant women and infants in Wisconsin. The report describes five themes supported by both oral health communities and overall health communities: reimbursements and insurance availability, coordination and integration, training, awareness, and practice settings. Contents include a statewide plan (objectives and activities) to reduce the prevalence of oral disease among pregnant women and infants who are underserved by integrating high-quality oral health care into the health-care-delivery system.


Details

Cigna. 2015. Healthy smiles for mom and baby: Insights Into expecting and new mothers' oral health habits. Bloomfield, CT: Cigna, 6 pp

Cigna
900 Cottage Grove Road
Bloomfield, CT 06002

Website: http://www.cigna.com
Available from the website.

This report summarizes findings from a survey to explore the oral health attitudes and behaviors of expectant and new mothers. Topics include women's self-rating of oral health before and during pregnancy and oral health problems reported during pregnancy; dental checkup participation and coverage, frequency, and cost concerns; routines impacting oral health; participation in healthy pregnancy programs; and the impact of pediatricians' and other health professionals' discussions of oral hygiene habits.


Details

Diop H, Hwang S, Leader D, Silk H, Chie L, Lu E, Stone SL, Flaherty K. 2016. Massachusetts oral health practice guidelines for pregnancy and early childhood. Boston, MA: Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 14 pp

Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Office of Oral Health
250 Washington Street, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02108

Telephone: (617) 624-6060
Secondary Telephone: (617) 624-5992
Fax: (617) 624-6062
Website: http://www.mass.gov/dph/oralhealth
Available from the website.

These guidelines provide oral health care recommendations and resources for health professionals caring for pregnant women and young children. Contents include background information about oral diseases; the status of oral health among pregnant women and children in Massachusetts and national and state efforts to improve it; and the role of prenatal care health professionals, oral health professionals, and pediatric care health professionals in improving pregnant women's and children's oral health. Topics include assessing, advising, educating, referring, collaborating, and providing treatment and management. Resources on medication use during pregnancy, sample referral forms, and reproducible handouts on healthy portion sizes and healthy eating during pregnancy are also provided.


Details

Maternal and Child Health Access. 2014. Educate and advocate: Oral health during pregnancy for low-income women in California. Los Angeles, CA: Maternal and Child Health Access, 4 pp

Maternal and Child Health Access
1111 West Sixth Street, Fourth Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017-1800

Telephone: (212) 749-4261
Fax: (213) 745-1040
E-mail: info@mchaccess.org
Website: http://www.mchaccess.org/index.php
Available from the website.

This brief provides information about the Oral Health Advocacy for Pregnant Women and Children project, a collaboration between Maternal and Child Health Access (MCHA) and the Community Clinics Association of Los Angeles County (CCALAC). Topics include the importance of and need for oral health care during pregnancy, changing dental coverage for women with pregnancy-only Medi-Cal, issues pregnant women face related to obtaining oral health care, issues health professionals face related to providing oral health care to pregnant women, the MCHA and CCALAC partnership, and policy recommendations.


Details

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Perinatal Oral Health Program. 2015. During pregnancy, the mouth matters: A guide to Michigan perinatal oral health. Lansing, MI: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, 22 pp

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Capitol View Building 201 Townsend Street
Lansing, MI 48913

Telephone: (517) 373-3740
Website: http://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs
Available from the website.

This guide provides information about reducing infant mortality and promoting perinatal oral health in Michigan. It discusses a statewide perinatal oral health initiative, an infant-mortality-reduction plan, the national and local landscapes, and transmission of cariogenic bacteria. It also includes guidance for perinatal care health professionals and oral health professionals, a visual guide for common oral health conditions, and referral resources to assist in facilitating oral health care for pregnant women.

     

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