We are excited to announce that we have been awarded a grant in the amount of $969,400 from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
The funds will be used to develop a new program to address maternal and infant oral health gaps in Michigan by connecting at-risk pregnant women to dental care during their pregnancy.
“Hormonal changes during pregnancy put women at increased risk for periodontal disease, cavities and a condition called ‘pregnancy gingivitis’ — tender gums that bleed easily,” said Mert Aksu, D.D.S., dean of University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry. He added, “Pregnant women with cavities can transmit cavity-causing bacteria to their infants.”
The program will operate in six pilot clinics across the state:
- Grace Health, Battle Creek
- Upper Great Lakes FQHC, Hancock
- Ingham County FQHC, Lansing
- InterCare Community Health Network, Benton Harbor
- Muskegon Family Care, Muskegon
- Great Lakes Bay Health, Bay City
At each of these sites, there will be a licensed dental hygienist to provide preventative dental care and oral health instructions, and refer patients to a local dentist for long-term care.
The project coordinator is John Girdwood, Ph.D.; regional coordinators include Christian Garcia (West/North) and Monica Jensen (East/Central). All three individuals began working with staff at the pilot sites to implement the program when the grant period started and have begun calibrating clinicians on a research project being conducted by Joshua Thomson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Division of Integrated Biomedical Sciences.
Benefits of this program include:
- increasing access to dentists for pregnant women;
- reducing adverse pregnancy outcomes related to poor oral health;
- and decreasing dental disease in infants by delaying the maternal child transmission of bacteria.
Read more about the program at this link.