More pregnant women accessing dental care, Delta Dental says

May 13, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO — May is Pregnancy Awareness Month and according to new Delta Dental survey data, more pregnant women in the United States are paying attention to their oral health.

In 2015, a Delta Dental Plans Association survey found that 57.5 percent of mothers in the U.S. reported visiting the dentist during their pregnancy, and this year in 2016, survey results show that number has now increased to 63 percent — an increase of nearly seven percent.

“This is positive news, and we’re glad expectant mothers are increasingly visiting the dentist. Oral health issues have a heightened risk of occurring during pregnancy, so being aware and on top of these is crucial,” said Bill Kohn, DDS, Delta Dental Plans Association’s vice president of dental science and policy.

Several oral health problems can appear specifically during pregnancy, and this underscores the need for extra diligence from expectant mothers. Pregnancy gingivitis (increased bleeding and tenderness of the gums) may appear during pregnancy due to increased hormones, and pregnancy tumors, which are rare and usually subside on their own, are red growths of gum tissue that can form on the gums between the teeth as a result of excess plaque, typically during the second trimester of pregnancy.

Great oral hygiene habits can prevent these and many other issues. Delta Dental reminds women that they can receive routine or emergency dental care during pregnancy, and to keep these tips in mind:

  • Make sure you let your dentist know that you are pregnant. Studies show a strong connection between oral health and overall health.
  • Try to avoid routine dental care during the first trimester and the latter part of the third trimester. If you need cavities filled or other necessary procedures, the second trimester is the best time.
  • If a dental emergency arises, remind your dentist that you are pregnant. He or she will know what precautions need to be taken to resolve your dental problem.
  • Wait until after your baby is born to have elective procedures such as tooth whitening or other cosmetic work.

“This is an exciting time during the lives of expectant mothers, and we’re reminding them that making a routine trip to the dentist is one step that shouldn’t be skipped,” added Kohn.

Good oral health doesn’t stop at childbirth. If you’d like to learn about children’s dental care and tips to protect your oral health, please visit Delta Dental’s SmileWay website.

About Delta Dental of California and its affiliates
Delta Dental of California, Delta Dental of New York, Inc., Delta Dental of Pennsylvania and Delta Dental Insurance Company, along with their affiliated companies, together provide dental benefits to 34.5 million people in 15 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. All are part of the Delta Dental Plans Association, whose member companies collectively cover more than 73 million people nationwide.

About the Survey: The Children’s Oral Health Survey was conducted 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.

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