Coverage brief: Improving access to oral health care in pregnancy
Oral health is essential to a woman’s overall health, including the health of her pregnancy. When women have good oral health, it benefits the entire family.
Yet, current policy gaps block many women from accessing needed dental services during pregnancy. The dental coverage landscape for low-wage pregnant women and adults of child-bearing age is a confusing patchwork. Nearly half of all births in the United States are covered by Medicaid. States are required to provide comprehensive oral health care to children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). But dental benefits for adults, including pregnant women, are optional. As a result, coverage options and rules vary widely from state to state, pushing even basic dental care out of reach of many pregnant women.
This brief provides an overview of the importance and status of oral health coverage in pregnancy, using data on the Medicaid dental coverage available to pregnant women in each state as of September 2019.
For additional information on oral health in pregnancy:
- Read CDHP's policy report, Oral Health during Pregnancy, and download the related infographic on hurdles to care
- Access the November 2018 webinar, Prioritizing Oral Health during Pregnancy, hosted by CDHP. Listen to the recording and download slides. See additional material from presenters under the 'webinar' section at www.cdhp.org/toolkit.
- Download an infographic designed by CDHP and the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2017 to educate families about the safety and importance of dental care in pregnacy. Available in English, Spanish and Chinese.
- Review further resources at CDHP's Oral Health & Pregnant Women Resource Center and the Oral Health during Pregnancy page at www.EndCavities.org.
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