Pregnancy is a crucial time in a woman’s life during which oral health is of fundamental importance, as periodontal disease has been linked to various pregnancy complications.
It is in this context that the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) and leading oral-healthcare brand Oral-B have launched the Oral Health and Pregnancy project, which will bring advice based on the latest scientific evidence to health professionals and patients across Europe.
The EFP and Oral-B have created this web portal to provide a wealth of material about the links between periodontal disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes, the care of teeth and gums during pregnancy, and the steps that should be taken by dentists, obstetricians, and other health professionals and by pregnant women themselves.
At the heart of the Oral Health and Pregnancy subsite is a series of guidelines that have been drawn up by some of the world’s leading experts in periodontal science and which are based on numerous scientific studies.
Three sets of guidelines have been drawn up: for oral-health professionals such as dentists, periodontists, and dental hygienists; for non-dental health professionals involved in the care of pregnant women (such as obstetricians, gynaecologists, and family doctors); and for women themselves, whether pregnant or planning to become so.
The web portal also includes the four fully-referenced scientific papers on which the guidelines were based. These papers cover the importance of women’s oral health during pregnancy, the links between periodontal diseases and pregnancy (a narrative review of studies and a systematic review and meta-analysis ), and the importance of treating periodontal disease during pregnancy.
Another part of the Oral Health and Pregnancy project is the provision of a toolkit for the 30 national societies of periodontology that are members of the EFP to enable them to run their own campaigns on oral health and pregnancy.
This toolkit will enable the important information contained in the guidelines to reach health professionals and women across Europe in local languages and adapted to local needs.
“Women’s oral health during pregnancy is very important, not only for its possible impact on delivery – and thus the possibility of preventing complications – but also for the oral health of pregnant women themselves,” said Mariano Sanz, professor and chair of periodontology at Madrid’s Complutense University who has co-ordinated the project for the EFP. “This is the key message we would like to give both to health professionals and to women themselves.”
“Oral health matters – especially during pregnancy,” said Dr Anja Rist, professional and scientific relations manager for oral care in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at Proctor & Gamble, owner of the Oral-B brand. “By raising awareness about oral health risks during pregnancy and offering simple solutions, we hope to encourage more women to seek professional dental care and to improve their at-home oral health care while expecting.”