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The foundation for good oral health is established early in childhood and the role of the mother is significant even prior to conception.1 Most women, however, are unaware of the potential consequences of neglecting their own oral health could have on them and their baby prior to, during, and after pregnancy.

Although dental care during pregnancy is both safe and can prevent long term health problems for both mother and child, an overwhelming number of women do not seek dental care during pregnancy. This issue is compounded by the fact that many dentists are reluctant or refuse to see pregnant patients.

This issue brief, developed in collaboration with in collaboration with the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors, March of Dimes, and the Washington Dental Service Foundation, explores efforts and policy options to move both patients and providers toward a better understanding of the importance and safety of oral health care prior to, during and after pregnancy (perinatal).