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Matern Child Health J. 2013 Jan;17(1):110-8. doi: 10.1007/s10995-012-0954-6.

Dental cleaning before and during pregnancy among Maryland mothers.

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Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Despite increasing recognition of the importance of oral health to overall health, dental care utilization remains low in the US. Given the established link between maternal oral health and child oral health, this study examined factors related to preventive dental care utilization at two critical time points, before and during pregnancy. Data were obtained from a sample of 6,171 women who delivered a live birth during 2004-2008 and completed the Maryland Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System postpartum survey. Multinomial logistic analyses examined associations between predisposing and enabling factors with dental cleaning before and during pregnancy. Women with less than a high school education or a history of physical abuse and non-Hispanic black and Hispanic women were less likely to report teeth cleaning before and during pregnancy. Having no insurance at the start of pregnancy was associated with significantly lower risk of teeth cleaning before pregnancy and both before and during pregnancy. Receipt of oral health counseling during pregnancy was positively related to teeth cleaning during pregnancy. Dental cleaning is associated with insurance, oral health counseling and maternal factors such as race, ethnicity, education and history of physical abuse. Better integration of oral health into prenatal health care, particularly among ethnic and racial minority groups, may be beneficial to maternal and infant well-being. Oral health promotion, disease prevention and health care should be a part of the local, state and national health policy agendas.

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