Teeth First! Teeth First!

Oral Health Resource for Community Organizations

The Perinatal and Infant Oral Health Quality Improvement (PIOHQI) project is a part of the RI Department of Health’s Oral Health Program.  PIOHQI works to improve the oral health of pregnant women and infants by improving access to oral health care, creating better referral systems between medical and dental providers, and providing oral health education to community providers and families. 
As part of the PIOHQI project, the Oral Health Program has created a 2-page resource for WIC, Family Visiting, and other Community Organizations: ‘Oral Health Talking Points and Myths.’
If you work with children and families, you may find this resource useful!
Talking points in the resource include:
  • Dental care (including exams, cleanings, and x-rays with shielding) is safe during pregnancy —and recommended!
  • Untreated problems can cause health issues for Mom and baby
  • Dental cleaning during pregnancy can reduce bacteria in Mom’s mouth
  • A healthy Mom’s mouth will lead to a healthy baby’s mouth
  • The health of baby teeth can affect the health of adult teeth
  • Regular dental check-ups every 6 months are important to prevent and identify early signs of disease
Myths in the resource include:
  • Myth: Pregnant women should avoid seeing the dentist until after they deliver.

    Fact:  The best time to visit the dentist for a cleaning and checkup is before you become pregnant to ensure a healthy mouth. An increase of hormones is common during pregnancy, and this increase causes an inflammation of blood vessels in the gum tissue. This leads to “pregnancy gingivitis,” where gums are inflamed and bleed easily. This usually subsides after pregnancy.

  • Myth: Children do not need to see the dentist until age three.

    Fact: Proper care for baby teeth is very important, as they help with chewing, aid in speech development, and lead to proper development of permanent teeth by saving space for them. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics all recommend a dental visit for children by age one. Baby teeth are vulnerable to tooth decay from their very first appearance, even as early as 6 months old.

Please see the full resource for more information (English and Spanish), and please share with your clients!
TeethFirst! Creating healthy smiles for a lifetime.