Oral health during pregnancy: an analysis of information collected by the pregnancy risk assessment monitoring system

J Am Dent Assoc. 2001 Jul;132(7):1009-16. doi: 10.14219/jada.archive.2001.0306.


Background: Little is known about the use of dental services during pregnancy. Yet research suggests that a pregnant woman's oral health and her pregnancy outcome may be associated.

Methods: Four states collected oral health data a part of the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, or PRAMS, in 1998. PRAMS is an ongoing, population-based survey designed to obtain information from mothers who recently delivered live-born infants about their experiences and behaviors before, during and immediately after pregnancy.

Results: Reports of dental care use during pregnancy ranged from 22.7 to 34.7 percent. In three states, 12.2 percent to 25.4 percent of respondents reported having a dental problem and of these, 44.7 percent to 54.9 percent went for care. Among mothers reporting a dental problem, prenatal care, or PNC, insurance through public funding and late PNC entry were significantly associated with their not getting dental care.

Conclusions: Most mothers did not go for dental care during their pregnancy; among those who reported having problems, one-half did not get dental care.

Practice implications: Attention toward the oral health needs of pregnant women is warranted. A coordinated effort from the dental and obstetric communities to establish guidelines could benefit maternal oral health and perinatal outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Birth Weight
  • Dental Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Maintenance Organizations / economics
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Insurance, Health / economics
  • Maternal Age
  • Medicaid / economics
  • Mouth Diseases / complications
  • Mouth Diseases / therapy
  • Oral Health*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Population Surveillance
  • Pregnancy / psychology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy
  • Prenatal Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tooth Diseases / complications
  • Tooth Diseases / therapy
  • United States