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New benefits help pregnant women get dental care

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Dental clinics across southwest Virginia are seeing patients take advantage of a new initiative designed to help pregnant women receive better oral health care.  

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced a program that will provide dental care to 45,000 low income pregnant women.  

Dental professionals say oral health can be especially challenging during a pregnancy because there is an increased risk for things like gum tumors, cavities and periodontal disease. 

Some studies show that periodontal disease can be linked to issues such as premature birth and low birth weight for babies. 

Doctors say low income pregnant women often go to the emergency room for dental issues, but this can be expensive and ineffective. 

The new benefits will apply to women over the age of 21 in Medicaid and the FAMIS MOMS program.