Cigna study finds majority of pregnant women suffer oral health problems, but 43% don’t get dental checkups
Preventive dental checkups are important throughout one’s life, and, arguably, even more essential during pregnancy. All infections in the mother, including tooth decay and gum disease, may pose a risk to the baby’s health as well. However, Cigna released a national survey finding that 43% of women don’t go for a dental checkup while expecting even though 76% admit to suffering from oral health problems during pregnancy, such as bleeding gums or toothaches.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can worsen certain oral health conditions such as gingivitis and more serious gum disease. The survey found that only 55% of women rate their oral health as very good or excellent during pregnancy, a drop from 63% pre-pregnancy. Without a checkup, women might not even be aware of problems beginning to affect their teeth and gums. More than a third (36%) of expectant mothers admit that it has been more than a year since their last preventive dental visit. Cost is the primary reason why pregnant women say they skip dental checkups, even among those with dental benefits.
“Dental checkups are so important that most dental benefit plans cover preventive care visits every six months with no or low out-of-pocket costs. Some dental benefit plans even have special maternity programs with additional services like extra cleanings or discounts on oral health prescriptions,” said Dr. Miles Hall, Cigna’s chief clinical dental director and licensed dentist.
Find an executive summary of the survey results here