Pregnancy is a time that brings many changes for women but one thing that should not change during pregnancy is maintaining optimal oral health. Even before a child is born, their oral health is linked to the oral health of their mother which is why taking care of your teeth during pregnancy is so important. Children of mothers with high levels of untreated cavities and tooth loss are three times more likely to have cavities as a child. Pregnant women are prone to gum disease and cavities but improving women’s oral health while pregnant can actually prevent cavities in young children.

Many women believe they should not receive dental care while pregnant, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women continue to receive routine dental care from their dentist, including cleanings, exams, and treatment for cavities and other oral health concerns. As a health professional, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides a free toolkit that includes tips for pregnant mothers, resources to connect patients to oral health care, and conversation tactics for providers.

If you are pregnant, take care of your oral health – and your baby’s – by brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once per day, and going to the dentist for regular cleanings and exams. In Kentucky, Medicaid benefits for pregnant women include dental services. Once baby is born, mothers can access Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS), First Steps, pediatric dentistry, and WIC to ensure their baby is healthy and thriving.