Oral Health Programs for Pregnant People and Children

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Taking care of your mouth and teeth during pregnancy is important for you and your baby – during and after pregnancy, and throughout life. Maintaining dental health during pregnancy can give your baby a healthy start. Gum disease may lead to low birth weight or preterm birth, and cavities are contagious – cavity-causing bacteria can spread from mother to baby.

Dental care, including X-rays and local anesthesia, is safe during pregnancy. In Vermont, pregnant people who are insured by Medicaid have no dollar limit on covered dental services during pregnancy and for 12 months after the end of pregnancy. Get tips for maintaining a healthy mouth during pregnancy. 

Oral health for babies & children

Your children’s teeth, including baby teeth, play an important role in their overall health by helping them chew healthy foods and speak clearly.

Dental caries (cavities) is the most common chronic disease in children, despite being almost 100% preventable. Untreated cavities affect the child’s overall health and may lead to problems with eating, speaking, and learning. Every year, approximately 400 Vermont children who are Medicaid eligible and under age 6 are treated in the hospital under general anesthesia for preventable dental problems.

Children who have untreated cavities in their baby teeth are more likely to get cavities in their permanent teeth.

Children who are insured by Medicaid in Vermont can receive dental care through Dr. Dynasaur.

Three proven strategies to prevent cavities:

Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) can be used to treat cavities without needles or drilling, so children may not need to be seen under general anesthesia. 

Vermont’s Public Health Dental Hygienist program

This program provides families enrolled in WIC with the opportunity to meet with a dental hygienist to receive oral health education, oral health services (e.g., risk assessments, fluoride varnish and silver diamine fluoride applications) and help finding a local dental office that accepts their insurance.

  • Public health dental hygienists deliver community education by doing outreach and training to medical and dental providers and supporting community organizations.
  • They also support prevention programs such as community water fluoridation, the 802 Smiles Network of School Dental Health Programs and access to care.

To learn more about Public Health Hygienists, check out this brief document that describes their work. Read the detailed report.

Vermont’s 802 Smiles Network

The 802 Smiles Network of School Dental Health Programs connects the different school dental health programs in Vermont under one umbrella to improve oral health for all Vermont children.

  • When a school becomes a member of the 802 Smiles Network, they can select to provide different levels of services to their students, from dental health education and onsite treatments—to transportation and restorative services, such as fillings.
  • The different tiers are laid out in this infographic.

We welcome and encourage new schools to join our network and the effort to promote dental health in Vermont youth. Email [email protected] or call (802) 863-7330 for more information.

More oral health resources for pregnancy & childhood
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