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Pregnancy and Oral Health: Dentists' Care Required
Date:12/18/2009

OAK BROOK, Ill., Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Most pregnant women in America don't see their dentists for important oral health care nearly as often as recommended, which can cause ongoing health problems for both mother and her baby.

In fact, fully a quarter of pregnant women didn't see the dentist at all during pregnancy and 38 percent visited the dentist just once. That's one key finding from a survey(1) of American children's oral health, conducted this summer on behalf of Delta Dental Plans Association, the nation's leading dental benefits provider. Delta Dental commissioned the survey to build greater knowledge about the state of children's oral health.

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, about 50 percent of women get "pregnancy gingivitis," a disease that makes the gums sore and swollen. In some studies, pregnant women with gum disease have given birth to low-weight or pre-term babies, who are at risk for many serious diseases including chronic lung disease, brain injury, motor and sensory impairment, learning difficulties and behavioral problems.

Dentists can identify gum and teeth problems during a routine checkup. Besides brushing, flossing and chewing sugar-free gum, women should get a thorough dental exam if they are planning to become pregnant. They also should get their teeth cleaned professionally once they are expecting.

Babies Need Oral Health Care, Too

The Children's Oral Health Survey suggests that caregivers recognize the importance of oral health care for infants, but don't always understand the techniques that promote oral health.

"On one hand, more than three in four survey respondents strongly agree that giving children sugary treats or a bottle of juice to go to sleep can cause cavities. And nearly two-thirds of those we surveyed strongly agreed that it is important to clean a baby's gums daily," said Jed J. Jacobson, DDS, MS, MPH, chief scie
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SOURCE Delta Dental Plans Association
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