GLENDALE, Ariz. (May 18, 2016) - More pregnant women in the United States are paying attention to an often overlooked area—their oral health. According to new survey data1 from Delta Dental of Arizona, the number of pregnant women going to the dentist increased nearly seven percent in the last year. The data is being released in conjunction with Pregnancy Awareness Month, which is celebrated in May.
“Having a healthy mouth is always important, but pregnancy can actually intensify dental disease. Minor dental problems you had before becoming pregnant can worsen and changing hormones can increase your risk of certain other oral health issues,” said Tiffany Di Giacinto, director of marketing and communications for Delta Dental of Arizona. “New research even suggests a possible link between a mother’s gum disease and pre-term, low-birthweight babies, so staying on top of your oral health during pregnancy is crucial.”
In 2015, 57.5 percent of mothers in the United States reported they visited the dentist during their pregnancy, according to the Delta Dental survey. The 2016 survey results show that number has now increased to 63 percent.
Common Oral Health Issues During Pregnancy
Two of the top issues appearing specifically during pregnancy:
It’s perfectly safe for women to receive routine or emergency dental care during pregnancy. In fact, it’s encouraged, said Di Giacinto.
“You have so much to think about during pregnancy that it may be easy to overlook your mouth, but pregnancy can actually make some dental problems worse. It’s important to continue to see your dentist during pregnancy for checkups and cleanings, along with brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between your teeth once a day,” she said.
Delta Dental of Arizona also offers the following three tips for scheduling dental appointments while pregnant:
Oral Health Resources for Low-income or At-risk Pregnant Women
Locally there are many resources for low-income or at-risk pregnant women to receive dental care, several of which are supported by grants from the Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation:
“Medicaid-eligible mothers don’t have coverage for dental services in Arizona, so we are concerned these moms will suffer without dental care because of these barriers. Funding programs like Maggie’s Place helps those mothers understand the importance of a healthy mouth during pregnancy and gets them into care,” said Sandi Perez, PhD, vice president of community benefit and executive director of the Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation.
For more information on caring for your oral health during pregnancy, visit the Delta Dental of Arizona Blog.
About Delta Dental of Arizona
Delta Dental of Arizona is the leading dental benefits provider in Arizona, serving more than 917,000 enrollees and more than 3,200 contracted dentists across the state. Passionate about oral health and its importance to generations of families, Delta Dental of Arizona has worked for more than 40 years to improve oral health by emphasizing preventive care and making dental coverage accessible to a wide variety of employers, groups and individuals. For more information about Delta Dental of Arizona, visit www.deltadentalaz.com.
1 The Children's Oral Health Survey was conducted by Kelton Global on behalf of the Delta Dental Plans Association between December 16, 2015 and January 14, 2016 among a nationally representative sample of 1,307 parents of children ages 6-12. The margin of error is +/- 2.7 percent.