English | Dzongkha Sunday, April 11, 2021

Poor oral health among pregnant women

Apr 6, 2021

Maternal oral health is considered an important part of prenatal care for pregnant women since it determines the overall health of both the mother and baby. But a study shows that oral healthcare during pregnancy is poor in Bhutan. The health ministry’s last oral health survey of pregnant women conducted in 2017 says 60 per cent of them faced dental issues.

Despite having dental problems, the survey reveals that 40 per cent of the expectant mothers never visited the dental hospital. Only 20 per cent of them sought treatment, which indicates poor use of dental healthcare services.

The survey was carried out at three major hospitals in the country, National Referral Hospital in Thimphu, Gelegphu Central Regional Referral Hospital and Monggar Regional Referral Hospital.

These three hospitals cater to the highest number of pregnant women in the country. Dentists say due to hormonal changes, expectant mothers are prone to cavities and gum disease. So, maintaining good oral health hygiene is of utmost necessity.

“More gum inflammation or poor oral health can have some adverse effects in early pregnancy. It might lead to miscarriages sometimes, and in the later stages of the pregnancy, it might lead to pre matured birth, like low birth weight. Another thing is among pregnant women they need to focus more on the balanced diet,” said Dr Gyan Prasad Bajgai, a Sr. Dental Surgeon at the JDWNRH.

To improve and promote oral health care among pregnant women, the community health department of Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Mother and Child Hospital introduced oral health counselling last year.

Almost 2,400 pregnant mothers received counselling since then. They were advised to brush their teeth at least twice a day, scrape their tongue every day to remove bacteria and use an antimicrobial mouth rinse.

“After attending the session, I know how to keep our teeth clean and also understood about the risk of gum diseases especially when I am pregnant,” said Bumeka Devi Ghalley, an expectant mother.

“I am hearing about this for the first time. I have delivered my earlier child without attending such a programme and I am not even aware earlier,” added another expectant mother, Bhim Maya.

Visiting dentists for regular check-ups and eating nutritious meals were also recommended. Meanwhile, other than expectant mothers, the dentists are encouraging the general public to seek dental services at least twice a year.

This would ensure healthy dental health and avoid serious oral health diseases such as lips and cavity cancer.

Choni Dema

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