September is Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month and one way mothers can keep their babies out of the NICU is to improve their oral health. Research shows that there is a link between pregnant women and their dental health and premature birth. St. Joseph’s Health in Syracuse, N.Y. says better dental care could help lower the number of premature births that come through their Level III NICU. “Premature babies frequently have respiratory distress, they might need some type of ventilator support, they might need some special nutritional support, and there’s just a longer stay at the hospital,” said Dr. Jonathan Chai, MEDNAX-affiliated neonatologist. “When we receive the baby, we’re more focused on what does the baby need and not so much what was the cause,” Chai said.
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