It is widely known that oral diseases can be prevented or improved with regular dental visits. Additionally, pregnant women are at an increased risk for developing periodontal disease due to the hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy. For this reason, pregnant women and women who are planning to become pregnant in the future are encouraged to take especially good care of their oral health. However, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found a need for improvement in the oral conditions and number of dental health visits among pregnant and non-pregnant women of childbearing age in the United States.
The objective of this CDC study was to assess and compare national estimates on self-reported oral health conditions and dental visits among pregnant and non-pregnant women in the U.S. who were of childbearing age. This assessment used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999-2004. In this study, researchers from the CDC analyzed self-reported oral health information on 897 pregnant women and 3,971 non-pregnant women of childbearing age (15-44 years).
Results of the study showed disparities in self-reported oral health conditions and use of dental services among women regardless of pregnancy status. The results of the study highlight the need to improve dental service use among U.S. women of childbearing age especially in the following groups: young pregnant women, black women, Mexican-American women and those with a low family income or low education level. Researchers suggest that prenatal visits could be used as a key opportunity to education women about the importance of seeking preventive dental care during pregnancy.
If you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant in the future, it is vitally important for you to engage in regular dental visits, and to carefully safeguard your dental health by practicing good daily oral hygiene. Therefore, if you have not been to see your dentist in more than six months, schedule your appointment today.
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