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Number of pregnant women in U.S. getting dental care on the rise

Trip to the dentist key to spotting & preventing oral health issues appearing during pregnancy

OAK BROOK, Illinois - May 12, 2016 - More pregnant women in the United States are paying attention to an often overlooked area, their oral health. According to new survey data out from Delta Dental today, the number of pregnant women going to the dentist has seen an increase of nearly seven percent over last year. The data is being released in conjunction with Pregnancy Awareness Month, which is celebrated in May.

"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.

In 2015, 57.5 percent of mothers in the United States reported they visited the dentist during their pregnancy, according to a Delta Dental Plans Association survey. The 2016 survey results show that number has now increased to 63 percent.

Two of the top issues appearing specifically during pregnancy:

    

  •  "Pregnancy gingivitis" (increased bleeding and tenderness of the gums) may affect women during pregnancy due to increased hormones.

      o Great oral hygiene helps prevent this from occurring. To help prevent a build-up of plaque, brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least daily, paying special attention to cleaning along and just below the gum line.

  •  "Pregnancy tumors" are somewhat rare, red growths of gum tissue that can form on the gums between the teeth as a result of excess plaque, usually during the second trimester of pregnancy.

      o Although they may bleed when irritated, these are benign and harmless, and usually subside on their own after the baby is born.

Delta Dental Plans Association reminds women that they can receive routine or emergency dental care during pregnancy with a few tips:

    

  • Try to avoid routine dental care during the first trimester and later part of the third trimester.
  •  If a dental emergency arises, be sure to let your dentist know that you are pregnant. He or she will know what precautions need to be taken to resolve your dental problem.
  • If you need cavities filled or other necessary procedures, the second trimester is the best time. Elective procedures like tooth whitening or other cosmetic work should be delayed until after the baby is delivered.

"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.

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.