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American Journal of Public Health Publishes Aetna, Columbia University Study on Oral Health Care and Pregnancy Outcomes


HARTFORD, Conn., — Aetna (NYSE: AET) today announced that the study, An Examination of Periodontal Treatment, Dental Care and Pregnancy Outcomes in an Insured Population, has been published online by the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH). The study found that women who received preventive dental care had fewer birth complications than women who received no treatment. The study was conducted by Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and the Mailman School of Public Health with Aetna Dental.

“This study shows the importance of preventive dental treatment for women who are planning to start a family,” said David Albert, DDS, MPH, associate professor at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, who led the study. “Women can help improve the overall quality of life for themselves and their child by staying in good dental health.”

Specifically, the study found that:

* The preterm delivery rate was 10.1 percent for those not receiving dental treatment and 7.6 percent for those receiving preventive care.
* The low birth weight rate was 5.0 percent for those not receiving dental treatment and 4.6 percent or lower among the groups receiving treatment.

The study was carried out between January 1, 2003 and September 30, 2006. Researchers looked at medical and dental insurance data for 29,000 pregnant women. The women had medical and dental coverage with Aetna, which allowed researchers to find out if there were links between dental treatment and women having babies who were pre-term or who had low birth weights. The study found that pregnant women who received dental prophylaxis care, which involves the removal of plaque above and below the gum line, had better birth outcomes. The findings suggested that for women with medical and dental insurance, provision of dental treatment, particularly dental prophylaxis, was associated with lower incidence of adverse birth outcomes. AJPH published the study online on November 22, 2010 and will also publish the study in the January print edition.

“These findings lead us to believe that pregnant women who actively seek dental care are more likely to adopt a wellness philosophy which carries over to other areas of their health,” said Mary Lee Conicella, DMD, Aetna’s chief dental officer. “We believe that these women were more likely to seek all types of preventive care, versus women who did not seek dental care.”

Aetna Dental is one of the nation’s leading providers of integrated and stand-alone dental products, serving more than 13.9 million dental members. For more information, visit the Aetna Dental website.

About Aetna
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 35.4 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see


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