Pregnant Women Don’t Get Enough Dental Care

Dental treatment—or a lack of it—has become a problem for pregnant women.

There are numerous reasons why pregnant women don’t get the dental care they need, including dentists who are hesitant to treat these patients, women who don’t seek oral care during pregnancy or women who think dental treatment will adversely affect the pregnancy. This is a problem because pregnancy itself may lead to dental issues, such as gum disease.

The information appeared in a recent New York Times article.

Other dentists were taught not to treat pregnant women because of the possible negative ramifications. They could be worried about litigation if any harm is caused to the fetus. A 2009 survey of 351 obstetrician gynecologists indicated that 77 percent of patients saw some decline in their dental health.

In recent years, some state and dental organizations have put together some guidelines in regards to treating pregnant women. These guidelines include looking for bleeding gums or some kind of oral infection.

And it’s not as if only a few pregnant women are afflicted with these problems. Depending on the source, 60 to 75 percent of pregnant women develop gingivitis or gum disease. If untreated, it may lead to other health problems.

The coverage available for pregnant women also varies from state to state. In Oklahoma, only 28 percent of Medicaid-eligible pregnant women receive dental care. In New York in 2010, 41 percent of women on Medicaid saw a dentist, which was an increase of 11 percent from 4 years prior.