Expectant mothers are generally advised to treat their oral health and dental hygiene as an important concern both before and during pregnancy. Although researchers have not always agreed on this matter, pregnant women suffering from periodontal disease have been found to be at increased risk of giving birth to premature or underweight infants.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Michelle Hamberlin, a resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, had trouble finding dental health care for her swollen gums and a broken, abscessed tooth. Systemic issues with the state-provided insurance in Wisconsin contributed to her problems in this instance.
Hamberlin managed to find the care she needed partially through the efforts of Katy Murphy, a nurse working with a public health program in Milwaukee. Even though the dental practice Hamberlin had previously visited accepted her Medicaid benefits, they only agreed to administer her care at Murphy's behest, and upon learning of Hamberlin's pregnancy.
Women in Milwaukee with situations similar to Hamberlin's may experience similar problems, as only eight of the 55 dental clinics listed under the state's insurance service claim to be accepting new patients.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research states that 8.52 percent of adults aged 20 to 64 have periodontal disease, and that those with lower incomes have it in greater numbers.
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