Pregnant women urged to make use of free dental services
Pregnant women have been urged to make use of health benefits available to them on the NHS.
When you fall pregnant, you are entitled to claim a maternity exemption card, which enables you to claim free dental treatment, as well as free prescriptions. The cards are handed out by the government and can serve as a very useful means of reducing the risk of health issues during pregnancy and cutting the cost of healthcare. Prescriptions usually cost £8.60 per item and dental treatment is available from around £20.
Going to the dentist during pregnancy is particularly important because the hormonal changes that take place in the body can put you at greater risk of developing oral diseases, including gum disease. Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the UK, but research also suggests that it can increase your risk of suffering from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Women who have gum disease are more likely to give birth prematurely.
All pregnant women are advised to go to the dentist at least once during their pregnancy, and treatment continues to be available free of charge for 12 months after the baby is born. If you notice symptoms like swollen or sore gums or bleeding from the gums, it’s essential to make an appointment.
If you have any questions about applying for a maternity exemption card, your doctor, midwife or dentist can help. Most women receive their card within 10 days of applying.