Grant to Promote Oral Healthcare Among Pregnant Women

Dentistry Today
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New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry associate professor Stefanie Russell, DDS, MPH, PhD, has received a one-year, $152,680 grant from the New York State Health Foundation to address oral health deficiencies among low-income, vulnerable pregnant women.

The project seeks to improve their access to dental screening and service referrals; increase knowledge among patients and providers about the importance of oral care during pregnancy; and facilitate dental care during pregnancy.

The grant will fund an on-site dental clinic as part of the Bellevue Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic that will be staffed by NYU College of Dentistry providers.

Despite detrimental oral changes accompanying pregnancy and the established causal relationship between a mother’s and her child’s oral health, about 60% of women do not see a dentist during pregnancy, the NYU College of Dentistry reports.

Also, women with the poorest oral health, including minorities, low-income women, and those receiving Medicaid, are least likely to see a dentist, with approximately two-thirds not seeing a dentist during pregnancy, the school notes.

The project will use evidence-based strategies adapted from the 2012 national guidelines, “Oral Health During Pregnancy: A National Consensus Statement,” providing education for providers and patients and integration of oral healthcare into the prenatal care system.

It also will measure changes in provider and patient behavior over a six-month implementation period resulting from a collaborative health promotion program between the school and the Bellevue ob-gyn clinic that addresses multiple barriers to oral health in this population.

“Our plan is evidence-based, and our team has the experience and motivation to successfully complete the project and to disseminate the results to those who wish to use it as a model wherever low-income pregnant women are failing to obtain dental care,” said Russell.

Russell plans to use data from this study to apply for a larger-scale grant that will enable the clinic at Bellevue to achieve long-term financial sustainability.

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