Online Program

Healthy Mom, Healthy Teeth: Assessing the Oral Health Needs of Pregnant Women in Indiana

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Theresa Hunter, PhD, MPH, MS, CHES, Maternal and Child Health, Indiana State Departement of Health, Indianapolis, IN
Robert Bowman, MA, MS, Maternal and Child Health Division, Indiana State Department of Health, indianapolis, IN
Background:  Oral health should be maintained during pregnancy and through a woman’s lifespan. Physiologic changes during pregnancy may result in changes in the oral cavity, such as pregnancy gingivitis, benign oral gingival lesions, tooth erosion, dental caries, and periodontitis.

Methods: In 2014, ISDH surveyed pregnant women (n=1,242) and prenatal care coordinators (n=58) throughout the state to gain a better understanding of the issues facing pregnant women in Indiana. This two-fold project focused on identifying the social determinants and stressors that pregnant women are facing, such as oral health and access to a dentist.

Results: Of the women that completed the survey, 93% were Medicaid-eligible, 69% were single, and 72% of these pregnancies were unplanned. In addition, only 29.49% of participants had been to a dentist during their current pregnancy. Of those that had not been to a dentist, 36.5% indicated that lack of insurance or finances were the reason that they did not receive dental care during pregnancy. This was followed by 17.19% indicating that they did not have time, 14.06% stating that they did not believe they needed to see a dentist, and 4.69% stating that they were afraid to see a dentist. Additionally 11% indicated that they did not have a dentist and 10% stated that they did have a dentist but appointments were not available.

Conclusions: It is important to educate women about the various changes to the gums and teeth during pregnancy and to reinforce good oral health habits to keep the gums and teeth healthy.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the oral health practices of pregnant women in Indiana. Explain the importance of receiving oral health care during pregnancy. Discuss the barriers in access to oral health services in Indiana.

Keyword(s): Oral Health, Maternal and Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently the Title V Coordinator for the state of Indiana. I am a Certified Health Education Specialist and have received my PhD in Health Behavior.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.