Most expectant mothers understand that eating well, taking prenatal vitamins and getting adequate rest are important for a healthy pregnancy. But did you know that maintaining good oral health also is vital for both mom and baby?
Research links gum disease with pregnancy complications and poor birth outcomes, including gestational diabetes, premature babies, and low birthweight babies. Getting oral health care can help prevent these problems, improving health for moms and babies.
Improved oral health can also lower medical costs for expectant mothers, according to a United Concordia study published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Pregnant women who received treatment for their gum disease saved an average of $2,433 in annual medical costs.
Getting oral disease treated during pregnancy can also improve babies’ oral health. New moms pass cavity-causing bacteria to their infants through kisses and sharing food. If moms are free from these bacteria, their babies are more likely to avoid decay.
Oral Health Watch supports efforts to expand access to dental care for lower income moms-to-be, including increasing reimbursement rates for dental providers serving this population.
As demonstrated by the state’s nationally recognized Access to Baby & Child Dentistry program, the targeted enhanced rates are expected to entice more dentists to treat pregnant women. Improved access to oral health care for pregnant women could result in nearly $13 million in medical cost savings over the biennium.