Dental Care for New Mothers in HUSKY A

Back • Publication Date: November 14th, 2008

Authors: Mary Alice Lee, Ph.D., Karen Sautter, M.P.H., and Amanda Learned, B.A.

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Research suggests that periodontal disease, a common chronic infection of the gums and tissue that support the teeth, may be associated with increased risk of poor birth outcomes, such as low birthweight and preterm birth. It makes good sense to provide dental care for pregnant women, especially for women known to be at risk for another low birthweight or preterm birth. Dental care for new mothers may also be effective in reducing cavities in early childhood, especially among children in low-income families who are at increased risk for the disease.

This study examined dental care during and after pregnancy among women who were enrolled in HUSKY A when they gave birth in 2005 and were continuously enrolled for the next 12 months. New mothers were significantly less likely than other women in HUSKY A to have received any dental care during pregnancy or in the year after they gave birth. New mothers with adverse birth outcomes were not any more likely than other mothers to have received dental care following the birth of a low birthweight or preterm baby.