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A new program called Adopt-A-Mom offers free dental care to disadvantaged mothers-to-be from the time of pregnancy until their children are 2 years old, according to a recent article published by the Florida Sun-Sentinel. The services are provided by dental students at the Caridad Clinic and Palm Beach State College.
The volunteers said they hope that the program will improve the overall health of low-income women who may have untreated cavities or periodontal disease, since these conditions have been associated with pre-term birth and low-birthweight babies.
"There is so much for [expectant mothers] to learn about hygiene in pregnancy, taking care of their baby's teeth and taking care of their own teeth," dental health educator Mary Pagana told the news source.
The news provider cited a national report, which indicated that 58 percent of women did not receive adequate dental care during their pregnancies. Also, among more than 30,000 Medicaid-enrolled pregnant women in Palm Beach County, only 41 percent had access to oral care.
According to the Mayo Clinic, women who experience morning sickness during pregnancy have an increased risk of developing tooth decay due to high levels of gastric acid in the mouth. Likewise, hormone changes may promote gum disease.
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