AAPD revises oral health guidelines for expectant moms

June 15, 2009

Modified oral health guidelines from the AAPD include a call for all pregnant women to receive counseling and oral healthcare during pregnancy. Additionally, infants should be given an oral health risk assessment and oral care before their 1-year birthday, according to the new guidance.

Modified oral health guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) include a call for all pregnant women to receive counseling and oral health care during pregnancy. Additionally, infants should be given an oral health risk assessment and oral care before their 1-year birthday, according to the new guidance.

The amended oral health guidelines targeting expectant mothers and infants were released in the wake of AAPD’s 62nd annual session in Honolulu, Hawaii. The new guidelines are designed to ensure better oral health for the mother and baby.

The guidelines are substantiated by studies that indicate how perinatal dental care can prevent preterm and low-birth weight babies, and how it is equally significant to overall health for pregnant women, especially for the upcoming delivery.

The revised guidance also stresses appropriate oral care for infants and toddlers, an age group vulnerable to early childhood caries (ECC). Simple lifestyle changes, underscored in the guidelines, related to a mother's oral hygiene, diet, use of topical fluoride and sharing of eating utensils can significantly lower a child's chances of having ECC.

Physicians are encouraged to address the new AAPD guidelines with patients. Also, AAPD is calling for curriculum at medical, nursing and allied health professional programs to involve education in perinatal and infant oral health.

To read the updated guidelines, visit AAPD's site.