Improving Access to Perinatal Oral Health Care: Strategies & Considerations for Health Plans
Most women do not access oral health care during pregnancy, despite evidence that poor oral health can have an adverse impact on the health of a pregnant woman and her child. In fact, a recent study in four states found that only 23 to 35 percent of women accessed dental care during pregnancy. This issue brief explores how oral health practices and utilization of dental care among pregnant women may affect a woman’s overall health, her birth outcome, and the oral health of her children. Oral health guidelines and statements are reviewed, and barriers that limit utilization of perinatal dental care are explained. The brief concludes with opportunities for health plans to play a role in removing these barriers to ensure that all pregnant women have access to needed dental care during pregnancy.