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    Maryland Department of Health Creates Guidance for Providers on Oral Health Care During Pregnancy
    Dental and Prenatal Providers Play a Vital Role for Women During this Important Time​

    Baltimore, MD (May 23, 2018) – The Maryland Department of Health, Office of Oral Health, announced today that it plans to distribute Oral Health Care During Pregnancy—Practice Guidance for Maryland’s Prenatal and Dental Providers to all dental and prenatal providers throughout the state. The document can be used by providers to guide the delivery of oral health care to pregnant women, including education on good oral health practices and oral disease prevention strategies. It outlines dental treatment and management protocols, highlights readily available community resources and support services, and debunks common myths and misconceptions about providing and receiving oral health care during pregnancy. 

    Access to oral health care is critical during pregnancy as the health of a woman’s mouth is an essential part of a healthy pregnancy. It is also an important predictor of her future child’s risk for cavities, the most common chronic childhood disease in the United States. The guidance document seeks to increase access to oral health care for pregnant women in Maryland by urging dental and prenatal providers to communicate the importance and safety of getting oral health care during pregnancy, as well as informing women that many dental insurers, including Medicaid, cover comprehensive oral health care services during pregnancy. 

    “Only 15 percent of pregnant women with an oral health problem see a dentist during pregnancy,” said Dr. Howard Haft, deputy secretary of Public Health Services at the Maryland Department of Health. “We can do much better than this. The guidance document will help raise awareness of health care providers in Maryland and about the importance of providing oral health care and education to pregnant women.” 

    “Misconceptions about getting oral health care during pregnancy are everywhere” said Katy Battani, RDH, MS, Project Manager of the Office of Oral Health’s Perinatal and Infant Oral Health Quality Improvement Program. “We hope to not only dispel these myths, but to make it easier for dental and prenatal providers to help women see that oral health is an essential component of their overall health and an integral part of their prenatal care.”    

    Oral Health Care During Pregnancy - Practice Guidance for Maryland’s Prenatal and Dental Providers was created as part of Maryland’s participation in the Perinatal and Infant Oral Health Quality Improvement project (PIOHQI), a four-year national initiative supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).  The goal of the
    PIOHQI initiative is to reduce the prevalence of oral disease in pregnant women and infants through improved access to high quality oral health care. Maryland is one of 16 states funded as part of this initiative.


    Maryland Department of Health, Office of Oral Health
    The Maryland Office of Oral Health focuses on improving the oral health of all Marylanders by communicating about the importance of oral health and its relationship to overall health, preventing oral diseases and injuries, and increasing access to oral health care. For more information on the Office of Oral Health, please visit: www.OralHealth4BetterHealth.org.

    Maryland Department of Health
    Marylanders who need help finding substance related disorder treatment resources should visit
    MdDestinationRecovery.org, BeforeItsTooLateMD.org or call the Maryland Crisis Hotline, which provides 24/7 support, at 1-800-422-0009. If you know of someone who could use treatment for substance related disorders treatment facilities can be located by location and program characteristics on our page at https://goo.gl/aRRExJ.   

    The Maryland Department of Health is the State agency that protects Maryland’s public health. We work together to promote and improve the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management, and community engagement. Stay connected:
    http://www.twitter.com/MDHealthDept and http://www.facebook.com/MarylandDHMH. ​