There are numerous problems in the area of perinatal oral health, and one is that many dentists do not accept certain patients, such as Medicaid patients. Also, some are uncomfortable treating very young children unless they have specialty training. Many are affected by antiquated teachings from dental school where they were told not to treat pregnant women for fear of harming the fetus.
Another resource is available through the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry from 2011.(2) The California Dental Association Foundation has a document from 2010.(3) The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has a 2011 document entitled “Guideline on perinatal oral health care.”(4)
Providing oral and periodontal care during pregnancy has been shown to be safe and effective.(5) An interesting article can be found in the New York Times.(6) It references “Oral Health Care During Pregnancy: A National Consensus Statement.”(7) The purpose of the statement is to increase awareness of the importance and safety of women’s oral health care during pregnancy through the promotion of evidence-based science, and ultimately to improve the provision and quality of oral health services to pregnant women. A one-page guide on “Pharmacological Considerations for Pregnant Women” can be downloaded, as well as “Tips for Good Oral Health During Pregnancy,” a two-page handout for pregnant women.(8,9) “Oral Health Care During Pregnancy and Through the Lifespan” is available through the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.(10)
There are numerous resources at our fingertips! Let’s use them.
2. Guideline on Perinatal Oral Health Care. http://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/G_PerinatalOralHealthCare.pdf.
5. Michalowicz BS, Hodges JS, DiAngelis AJ, et al. Treatment of Periodontal Disease and the Risk of Preterm Birth. N Engl J Med 2006; 355:1885-1894, 2006.