Oral healthcare during pregnancy is poor in Bhutan, with 40 percent of expectant mother’s never visiting dental hospital despite having problems, according to a recent study. Doctors said oral health is “of utmost necessity” as it could lead to other problems among pregnant women.
The survey, carried out at three major hospitals in the country - National Referral Hospital in Thimphu, Gelegphu Central Regional Referral Hospital and Monggar Regional Referral Hospital, revealed that 40 percent of the expectant mothers never visited the dental hospital, while only 20 percent of them sought treatment, thus indicating poor use of dental healthcare services.
The three hospitals cater to the highest number of pregnant women in the country, according to The Bhutanese Expression.
Dentists said due to hormonal changes, expectant mothers are prone to cavities and gum disease. So, it is important to maintain good oral health hygiene.
“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,” said Dr. Gyan Prasad Bajgai, a Senior Dental Surgeon at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (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 counseling last year. Almost 2,400 pregnant mothers received counseling since then.
The health ministry’s last oral health survey of pregnant women conducted in 2017 had said that 60 percent of them faced dental issues.
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, said experts.