Does Pregnancy Lead to Tooth Loss?
Pregnancy and Tooth Loss
Have you ever heard the old-wives tale, “gain a child, lose a tooth?”
Every pregnant Mom knows how important it is to take care of themselves, but expecting Moms also need to understand the impact that pregnancy has on dental health.
Hormonal changes that expecting Moms go through during pregnancy can increase the risk of tooth loss, gum disease, and other dental health concerns, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose a tooth – or worse.
By adhering to a diligent daily dental health regimen of brushing twice a day for two minutes, flossing daily, rinsing with an alcohol-free mouthwash, AND seeing your dentist regularly, expecting Moms can stave off the negative oral health impacts of those hormonal changes to ensure that a new baby doesn’t equal tooth loss.
Pregnant Moms see their doctors a lot during their pregnancy, there’s no reason why a dentist appointment or two shouldn’t be included.
If you’re concerned about losing a tooth during pregnancy, or any other oral health issue, just be sure to talk with your doctor AND dentist.
After all, oral health IS overall health!
Is There A Link Between Pregnancy and Tooth Loss?
Maybe that old wives tale isn’t such a tall tale, according to a recent study out of the Netherlands.
Writing in the Journal of Epidemology & Community Health, Professor Stefan Listl, of the Department of Dentistry, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, said:
“Our study provides unique and novel evidence for causal links between the number of natural children and missing teeth.
“On basis of our findings, enhanced promotion of oral hygiene, tooth-friendly nutrition, and regular (preventive) dental attendance – specifically targeted at expecting and parenting mothers – seem to be sensible strategies for clinicians and health policy.
“An additional birth might be detrimental to the mother’s but not the father’s oral health.”
Although preliminary, this most recent study does seem to indicate a correlation between pregnancy and tooth loss.
The study goes on to suggest that the more children a woman has, the fewer teeth you end up with.
An older study of 2,635 women conducted here in the United States and published in 2008 by the NYU School of Dentistry in the American Journal of Public Health came to the same conclusion, that women who have more children are more likely to have missing teeth.
According to Dr. Stephanie Russell, an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology & Health Promotion, NYUCD,
“This is the first time we’ve seen a connection between pregnancy and tooth loss affecting women at all socioeconomic levels in a large, heterogeneous sample of the U.S. population.”
3 Factors of Tooth Loss While Pregnant
Even though the recent study out of the Netherlands, and the 2008 study from right here in the United States, both seem to indicate a possible link between pregnancy and tooth loss.
But, before we can define direct causation between pregnancy and tooth loss, more research is needed.
According to Dr. Russel, a pregnant woman experiences profound biological and behavioral changes related to pregnancy and childbirth, which are likely to be a factor in tooth loss
- Pregnancy Gingivitis: Pregnancy can make women prone to gingivitis (gum inflammation). Repeated pregnancies are likely to result in more frequent outbreaks of gingivitis that may lead to tooth loss in women with periodontitis.
- Not Seeing Their Dentist: Having a baby is expensive, as a result, some women may postpone visits to their dentist because of financial concerns related to having a baby.
- Neglect: Moms who take care of their children’s dental health but neglect their own can find themselves living proof of that old wives tale.
“Although further research is needed on the specific reasons for the link between pregnancy and tooth loss, it is clear that women with multiple children need to be especially vigilant about their oral health Dr. Russell says.”
When Should Pregnant Women First See Their Dentist?
It’s been recommended that by your second trimester, pregnant Moms should definitely schedule a dental check-up & exam.
But it certainly won’t hurt to schedule a visit to your dentist when you find out that you’re pregnant, that little bit of preventative maintenance could wind up saving you a tooth…or two.
Pregnancy doesn’t have to lead to tooth loss, whether you have one, two, or six kids.
Follow the directions of your doctors and your dentist to make sure that you don’t play a role in keeping this toothy tall tale going strong for generations to come.
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