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J Dent Hyg. 2013 Dec;87(6):330-5.

Improving oral health outcomes from pregnancy through infancy.

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of current professional guidelines regarding oral health care through pregnancy and infancy stages, and to include risks associated with treatment, as well as health care providers' beliefs and attitudes surrounding treatment of these specific populations. Although dental treatment during the second trimester is ideal, there is no indication that preventive or restorative dental treatment during any trimester of pregnancy can cause harm to the mother or developing fetus. Despite these recommendations, routine dental care is often voluntarily avoided or postponed for the duration of pregnancy. Post-delivery, preventive oral care is typically postponed for a child until 3 years of age, years after the first tooth has erupted. While most health care professionals agree on the importance of good oral health in every stage of life, it is not being addressed. Whether it is based on misconceptions or lack of knowledge, health care providers are performing inadequate oral care for these patients. Recommendations to increase health care during pregnancy and infancy should include improved advocacy of the established oral health care guidelines within each professional organization. In addition, curriculum revision should occur at the university level, to ensure future health care professionals will have a strong oral health foundation. Lastly, a collaborative effort needs to occur between all health care providers to better treat the patient's overall health, not only the specifics of one professional discipline. As health care professionals we are all responsible for the complete well-being of our patients, and an interdisciplinary approach will better ensure we accomplish this task.

KEYWORDS:

anticipatory guidance; dental home; infant oral health; interdisciplinary collaboration; oral disease prevention; oral health; pregnancy

PMID:
24357561
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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