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New Grant to Help Pregnant Women Access Dental Care

Senior male  dentist in dental office talking with female patient and preparing for treatment.Dentists recommend that each child should have their first dental visit by the time they turn one. But isn’t it also important that mothers also have access to quality dental care while pregnant with their children?

According to Farmers’ Advance, many pregnant women lack proper affordable dental care. Mert Aksu, D.D.S., dean of University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry, says it’s extremely important for pregnant women to have access to regular dental care during their pregnancy, as the results can have a positive impact on both mother and child.

“Hormonal changes during pregnancy put women at increased risk for periodontal disease, cavities and a condition called ‘pregnancy gingivitis’ — tender gums that bleed easily,” Aksu said. He explained that mothers’ oral health during pregnancy could have an impact on babies, adding, “Pregnant women with cavities can transmit cavity-causing bacteria to their infants.”

Detroit Mercy Dental is partnering with six medical sites throughout Michigan to provide oral care to pregnant women with the help of a grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Kathy Stiffler, acting Medicaid director of the DHHS, spoke about the grant and how it can help those in need.

“We are pleased to work with Detroit Mercy Dental on this important initiative. The gap in dental insurance coverage for this population that this effort will fill is crucial to ensuring oral health … this partnership could establish a model for future programs of this nature,” Stiffler said.

The grant totals $969,400 over 15 months and is designed to help women and their physicians understand the importance of oral care during pregnancy. A registered dental hygienist will work with prenatal medical professionals to help incorporate oral health checks into regular visits. The hygienists will then work with expecting mothers to emphasize the importance of pre- and post-natal oral health care.

For Detroit Mercy Dental, this is more than just an opportunity to help those in need. It’s the perfect chance for them to stick with their mission of its religious founders.

“We’re pleased to have a new opportunity to reach patients who might otherwise fall through the cracks,” Aksu said.

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