Oral health is an important component of general health and should be maintained during pregnancy and through a woman’s lifespan. Maintaining good oral health may have a positive effect on heart disease, diabetes, and other disorders.
35% of U.S. women reported that they did not have a dental visit within the past year. In addition, 56% of women did not visit a dentist during pregnancy between 2007 and 2009.
Optimal maternal oral hygiene during the perinatal period may decrease the amount of oral bacteria transmitted to the infant during common parenting behavior, such as sharing spoons.
Oral health, which includes health of the gums, teeth, and jawbone, is a “mirror for general health and well-being”.
The World Health Organization’a Global Oral Health program notes that oral health is a determining factor for quality of life.
Approximately 40% of pregnant women have some form of periodontal disease. The American Dental Association affirms the importance of oral health care during pregnancy .
Prevention is the Key
To prevent tooth decay, oral infections, and tooth loss, the American Dental Association recommends semiannual dental examinations and cleanings as well as daily brushing and flossing.
This post is an excerpt from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’s August 2013 Committee Opinion.