Maternal oral health in pregnancy. Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Publications Committee.
Oral diseases are prevalent conditions; dental caries is the most common chronic childhood disease, and adult periodontal infection affects up to 40% of reproductive-aged women. Childhood caries is a preventable infectious disease, and maternal oral flora is one of the greatest predictors of the oral flora of her offspring. Periodontal infection is also preventable and has received recent attention as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory infection. Periodontal infection has also been associated with adverse pregnancy outcome. Effective preventive and treatment measures to reduce the morbidity of oral diseases exist, yet both caries and periodontal infection remain prevalent, particularly among racial and ethnic minorities and disadvantaged individuals. Given the evident relationships between oral and general health and between maternal and infant oral health, oral health care should be a goal for all individuals. Pregnancy offers an opportunity to educate women regarding oral health and treat them where appropriate. Research is ongoing to delineate the role of maternal oral health care in pregnancy outcomes and opportunities for positive intervention.