Oral Health For Pregnant Women And Moms

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Importance of Oral Health For Pregnant Women And Moms

Improving women’s oral health is an effective way to prevent cavities in young children. Paying attention to pregnant women’s oral health is an essential aspect of the mother and child’s oral and general health.

As pregnancy can make women more susceptible to periodontitis or periodontal (gum) disease, oral health should be a crucial part of prenatal care because poor oral health during pregnancy can result in poor health consequences for the baby and the mother.

In this regard, the Protecting Tiny Teeth initiative—a digital and offline media resource for pregnant women, moms, and caregivers—offers an oral health communications resource to encourage the exchange of knowledge among healthcare providers, moms, and pregnant women.

The formation of Protect Tiny Teeth was based on the objective of paying more attention to the oral health of moms and infants and came about after an agreement between the American Academy of Pediatrics and Disease Control and Prevention Centers. Protect Tiny Teeth has attractive materials to encourage awareness that oral health should be part of prenatal care, and useful information about how pregnant women and new moms can safeguard their and their infant’s oral health.

Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

It may be surprising to learn, but between 60%-75% of pregnant women tend to be diagnosed with gingivitis, which is a periodontal disease due at an early stage due to inflammation and is marked by red or swollen gums brought on by varying hormones levels during pregnancy.

Untreated gingivitis can result in loss of teeth-supporting bone and infected gums. Teeth without adequate bone support may become loose and require extraction. Periodontitis can hurt pregnancy outcome and can result in low-weight birth or pre-term birth. However, the connection between periodontitis and adverse pregnancy outcome is yet to be comprehensively researched.

Pregnancy and Dental Cavities

Change in eating habits among pregnant women may increase the risk of developing cavities.

During pregnancy, the women who have significant cavity-causing bacteria could pass on the bacteria from their mouth to the baby. Exposure to such bacteria at an early stage and sugars from snacking or taking the bottle to bed can trigger early childhood cavities and require comprehensive dental care. Here are some vital statistics related to oral health and pregnant women:

  • The proportion of child-bearing women with untreated cavities: 1:4
  • The children of mothers having tooth loss or diagnosed with significant levels of untreated cavities are over 3 times more likely to develop cavities as a child.
  • Children having poor oral health are 3 times more inclined to not got to school due to dental pain.

How Protect Tiny Teeth Can Help

Oral health should be a matter of priority for all health care providers, including maternity, pediatric, and primary care providers. Protect Tiny Teeth comes with interesting and useful materials to create awareness about why oral health should be linked with prenatal care and suggestions to protect infants’ oral health.

Also included are material with videos and infographics for community liaisons and medical providers and suggestions on how to reach the targeted audience. The resource materials are created to understand young children and women’s needs, offer important points of engagement related to oral health, and contains useful material to leave with the pregnant woman or new moms.

To have free access to the Protect Tiny Teeth toolkit, visit AAP.org. The resource material is available in English and Spanish and some in multiple languages. Women and online visitors can also go to Healthychildren.org/tinyteethExternal.



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