Archive for October, 2012

News From Vt. State Dental Society

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Thanks to member, Toby Kravitz, DDS, Upper Valley Oral Health Coalition is please to post this release from the Vermont State Dental Society on our website.

Subject: The Importance of Oral Health during Pregnancy and Early Childhood
Dear Vermont State Dental Society Members:
Below is the web link to Dr. Steve Arthur’s May 24th Vermont Department of Health’s Public Health Grand Rounds presentation, “Two is Too Late”, which is about the importance of oral health during pregnancy and early childhood.
It does not include an audio recording, but does include a link to the video portion of the presentation.  A link to the presentation is listed under Presentation Recordings and Slides, near the bottom of the page.
The take away message includes that oral health care is safe during pregnancy, and should not be delayed until the baby is born.  Bacteria that cause early childhood caries (ECC) are transferred from mom to infant by things like pretesting food and kissing on the mouth.  If babies are infected before their second birthday, they are set up for a lifetime of more severe decay.  ECC is a real problem in Vermont.  In FY 2009 over 400 Vermont children had to be treated under general anesthesia in a hospital setting, at a total cost of over $2.5 million dollars to treat this preventable disease.  Many of these children will grow up, and pass the decay onto their own children if this cycle is not broken. 
ECC is a complex problem, involving many aspects, and needs to be addressed at all levels of the Vermont Prevention Model.  Ideally, the importance of oral health would be addressed at a woman’s first prenatal visit; she would be given information about how pregnancy may put her at an increased risk for oral disease, how her oral health can affect gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, and how her oral health may affect that of her child.  She would be encouraged to have all needed preventive and restorative dental work done before her baby is born (even if that means needed x-rays and local anesthesia), and to decrease the bacterial count in her mouth by using mouth rinse and xylitol gum.  Appreciating their potential to positively affect this woman’s birth outcomes, and her oral health as well as her child’s, the local dental team would welcome this woman into their practice, and look forward to seeing her child on his or her first birthday.  At the women’s Head Start program and WIC, she would be getting consistent messages about the importance of prioritizing preventive oral health care (showing up for appointments and following through with homecare), limiting sugar sweetened beverages, and establishing a dental home for her child by age one (“Two is Too Late”).   
The California Dental Association Foundation (CDAF) has excellent resources on this topic that are being promoted by VDH:
CDAF’s “Oral Health in Pregnancy and Early Childhood: Evidenced Based Guidelines for Health Professionals” shared with OBGYNs, midwives, pediatricians, WIC, and Vermont dental practices in collaboration with the Dental Society, and patient/parent materials, “Cavity Keep Away.”
I’ve also attached the ADA recommendations outlined in “Baby’s First Tooth”, published in JADA (February 2002).
Please review these materials and share them with your practice team.  It is important that we deliver a consistent message to patients.  We expect to continue working with Dr. Arthur, Robin Miller RDH, and the VDH team on this important topic.