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Connecting the dots between oral health and pregnancy

Posted on March 21, 2023 in Giving Back

Pregnant woman brushing her teeth

Photo credit: Healthy Birth Day

Evidence shows that receiving dental care during pregnancy can improve the health of both baby and mother by reducing the risk of gum disease and poor birth outcomes. Your body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy – including changes to your mouth. Making sure you are taking care of your oral health may not be at the top of your lengthy to-do list, but it is even more important when you are pregnant.

Routine dental appointments during pregnancy can help prevent dental issues, keeping both mother and baby healthy. Around 70% of pregnant women will develop gingivitis during pregnancy, which can lead to periodontitis, which has been linked to preterm birth and low birth weight. So it’s important for expecting moms to stay current on dental visits and maintain healthy dental habits throughout pregnancy. That’s why Delta Dental of Iowa has partnered with Healthy Birth Day, Inc. to help raise awareness about the importance of maintaining good oral health while expecting.

What is Healthy Birth Day, Inc?

Healthy Birth Day, Inc. was founded in 2009 as a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing stillbirths and improving birth outcomes. Best known for its signature Count the Kicks app, which helps expecting mothers track fetal movement, Healthy Birth Day has also invested resources in spreading awareness about the importance of maintaining good oral care routines during pregnancy.

According to Healthy Birth Day:

  • A 2022 survey of expecting mothers in Iowa showed nearly 60% did not visit the dentist while pregnant
  • 1 in 4 women of childbearing age have untreated cavities
  • A baby’s teeth start to grow 3 months into pregnancy

Supporting Healthy Birth Day, Inc.

We are proud to support Healthy Birth Day through the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation for their work to increase awareness of the importance of sustained dental care throughout pregnancy. In 2021, Healthy Birth Day received a System and Capacity Building Grant of $72,000 to expand educational resources regarding the importance of good oral health care during pregnancy, focusing on those most at risk for stillbirth.

In 2022, we awarded a $23,500 Community of Health Grant to Healthy Birth Day to continue their work by developing a training program for the next generation of dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants and to launch a robust media marketing campaign to spread awareness to expecting mothers.

We appreciate Healthy Birth Day's work to help educate expecting mothers about the importance of maintaining good oral health care during pregnancy.

Learn more about Healthy Birth Day.