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Pregnancy, Oral health, Teeth, Infection



  1. Russell, Stefanie L. DDS, MPH, PhD
  2. Mayberry, Linda J. PhD, RN, FAAN


This article presents a review of the research relevant to oral health during pregnancy and includes nursing practice recommendations for referral of women to a dentist for safe and effective dental care during pregnancy. In recent years, research linking periodontitis to the risk for adverse birth outcomes has resulted in increased interest in the topic of oral health during pregnancy. The achievement of optimal oral health in pregnant women as its own benefit, however, has in the past been hampered by myths surrounding the safety of dental care during pregnancy. Many women also lack access to dental care and dental insurance, which interferes with their ability to receive adequate oral care during pregnancy. Intraoral changes that occur with pregnancy because of hormonal changes, combined with lack of routine exams and delays in treatment for oral disease, place pregnant women at higher risk for dental infections.