You’ve probably heard that for every child she has, a mother loses a tooth.
The fact is, although losing a tooth for every pregnancy has long been considered an old wives’ tale, there may actually be some truth to the legend of the lost tooth.
Long seen as a myth, a recent study has shown that a correlation does exist between tooth loss and pregnancy. The study suggests that the more children you have, the more teeth you would lose.
Although further research is needed to determine how pregnancy directly affects tooth loss, the following are contributing factors:
Pregnancy Gingivitis – Pregnant women are highly susceptible to pregnancy gingivitis due to the change in hormones. Gingivitis can lead to gum disease that can result in tooth loss when left untreated. Frequent occurrences of pregnancy gingivitis due to multiple pregnancies may increase your chances of developing gum disease.
Poor Oral Care – Mothers often have less time for themselves, and as more children enter the picture, personal time dwindles. Unfortunately, busy moms may not take the time needed to focus on their oral hygiene and eating habits, which can greatly affect their dental health.
Acid reflux and vomiting – Oh the joys of nausea and acid burps. Frequent vomiting and reflux can corrode teeth and break down the integrity of the gums. Changes to diet, medications and lots of rinsing with water will make a difference.
Avoiding the Dentist – One pregnancy fable can get your teeth into major trouble. You may have heard you should avoid dental treatment during your pregnancy, but that’s not recommended! Sometime during your nine-month pregnancy, your six-month dental checkup will come up; a skipped appointment can allow problems to develop for quite some time, potentially causing complications for both you and your baby.
Periodontal disease has been linked to premature births, and missing teeth causes other dental problems, including shifting teeth, bite problems, bone loss and even premature aging.
If there is truth to the pregnancy/tooth loss theory, it’s not due to a direct lack of calcium. It’s long been understood that the foetus does not take calcium from the mother’s teeth. When deficient, the mother’s body pulls calcium from her bones, not her teeth, to contribute to the foetus. However, bear in mind that it is the jawbone that supports the teeth.
If you are pregnant – (congratulations!) it is recommended that you schedule your checkup during your second trimester, and contact us if any dental problems arise. Postponing your dental exam may keep you from getting treatment for pregnancy-related dental problems such as gingivitis. Putting off the dentist on a frequent basis because of multiple pregnancies can greatly increase your chances of having a “dental nightmare” on your hands. Keep your appointment and tell your dentist about your pregnancy so that they can provide the right safety measures.
An increase in dental health awareness may help keep tooth loss in pregnancy from becoming the norm.
Stepping up your oral hygiene routine will help prevent the dental conditions associated with pregnancy. It’s no fantasy that dental health affects your overall health, so you should continue with your dental care to protect yourself and your baby. Optimal oral health can keep you from having some scary stories of your own!
Have a happy Mother’s Day! (Now do you realise how much mum had to put up with?)