Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is presenting free coupons for dental cleaning to expectant mothers under a new program linking healthy babies to maternal dental hygiene.

Michigan Blues, Detroit, is offering the coupons through participating obstetricians, gynecologists, family practice physicians and nurse midwife practitioners as well as dentists.

The company says its offer is linked to studies showing changes in pregnant women place them at increased risk of gum disease, which in turn can lead to premature or low-birth-weight babies and increase the chance of toxemia in expectant mothers.

The coupons will be honored for free cleanings with any dentist participating with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or its dental network subsidiary, DenteMax. The coupons will be distributed through Dec. 31, and are valid for 6 months after receipt.