Disparities in Unmet Dental Need and Dental Care Received by Pregnant Women in Maryland Academic Article uri icon


  • To examine prenatal dental care needs, utilization and oral health counseling among Maryland women who delivered a live infant during 2001-2003 and identify the factors associated with having a dental visit and having an unmet dental need during pregnancy. Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System is an ongoing population based surveillance system that collects information of women's attitudes and experiences before, during, and shortly after pregnancy. Logistic regression was used to model dental visits and unmet dental need using predictor variables for Maryland 2001-2003 births. Less than half of all women reported having a dental visit and receiving oral health advice during pregnancy. Twenty-five percent of women reported a need for dental care, of which 33 % did not receive dental care despite their perceived need. Multivariate modeling revealed that racial minorities, women who were not married and those with annual income <$40,000 were least likely to have a dental visit. Women who were not married, had low annual income, were older than 40 years of age, had an unintended pregnancy and received prenatal care later than desired were most likely to have an unmet dental need during pregnancy. Despite reported needs and existing recommendations to include oral health as a component of prenatal care, less than half of pregnant women have a dental visit during their pregnancy. One-third of women with a dental problem did not have a dental visit highlighting the unmet need for dental care during pregnancy.

publication date

  • 2014