Medical Provider Promotion of Oral Health and Women’s Receipt of Dental Care During Pregnancy

Kristen S. Marchi, Christine Rinki, Monisha Shah, Melanie Dove, Cheryl Terpak, Michael P. Curtis, Paula Braveman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives Dental care during pregnancy is important. We examined whether promotion of oral health by medical providers during pregnancy and pregnant women’s receipt of dental care improved between 2009 and 2012 in California. Methods We used population-based postpartum survey data collected during 2009 (n = 3105) and 2012 (n = 6810) to compare the prevalence of women’s reports that, during pregnancy, (a) their medical providers discussed oral health and/or suggested they see a dentist, and (b) they received dental care. Results Between 2009 and 2012, the proportion of women reporting that their medical providers talked about oral health or referred them to a dentist increased significantly overall (from 36 to 42%, and 21–26%, respectively, p < 0.001). The proportion of women with a dental visit during pregnancy also increased, from 38% in 2009 to 42% in 2012 (p < 0.005). The improvements were largely among women of lower income and education levels, those covered by Medi-Cal, and Latinas. Women whose medical providers promoted oral health care were approximately two times more likely to report having had a dental visit during pregnancy, even after adjusting for several potential confounders. Conclusions for Practice Characteristics of women reporting that their medical providers promoted, and that they received, dental care during pregnancy in 2012 suggests that the increases in promotion and use of oral health care were largely concentrated among Medi-Cal recipients. Further improvement is needed for all populations of pregnant women. Both public and private providers need to incorporate promotion of and referral for dental care into routine prenatal care protocols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)890-902
Number of pages13
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 15 2019


  • Oral health
  • Pregnancy
  • Provider practices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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