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What so many women get wrong about dentist visits in pregnancy

08/08/2016  |  Tags: dentist visits in pregnancy, ,

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Women are being urged to pay attention to their dental health during pregnancy after a nationwide survey revealed more than 50 per cent of women mistakenly believe it is unsafe to visit the dentist while expecting.

The Australian Women and Dental Health Survey found that 53.7 percent of women don't believe they should visit a dentist while pregnant due to safety concerns.

Experts say this is particularly concerning as dental health is very important during pregnancy, due to the fact that morning sickness, increased snacking and sugary cravings increase the risk of long term damage to women's oral health.

The study, released this week by the Australian Dental Association, revealed that 76 per cent of respondents were unaware that morning sickness can have a significant negative impact on teeth.

Hormonal changes can also make gums more prone to bleeding, swelling and inflammation, leading to an increased likelihood of gum disease and possible subsequent tooth loss. 

Chair of the ADA's Oral Health Committee Dr Peter Aldritt has encouraged women to reassess how they view dental care while pregnant.

"Getting a check-up during pregnancy is not only safe, but important for a woman's dental health, and the health of her unborn child," he said.

"Pregnancy is a crucial stage in a woman's life, and maintaining oral health is directly related to good overall health.

"Gum disease and dental damage can be managed during pregnancy as long as women take appropriate preventative steps to help protect their teeth – such as visiting the dentist on top of brushing and flossing daily."

As part of Dental Health Week the ADA is encouraging women to visit their dentist regularly and to learn how to protect their teeth and gums during times of hormonal changes such as pregnancy and menopause. 

The survey also uncovered that 67.1 percent of Australian girls going through puberty don't regularly visit the dentist.

Almost half (48.9 percent) of women going through menopause have experienced signs of gum disease, yet 70 percent do not visit the dentist every six months as recommended.