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Does Having More Children Equal Fewer Teeth for Mothers?

familyThis study not only answers the question but explains how to prevent the “inevitable”! Thank you for visiting us at Castle Rock Endodontics!,

“Jedes kind kostet die mutter einen zahn,” says an old German saying; “every child costs the mother one tooth.” While many people dismiss old wives tales, this is one that has some basis in reality: According to researchers at New York University, the risk of tooth loss and gum disease increases with the number of children a woman bears.

Dr. Stefanie Russell of New York University College of Dentistry studied 2,635 American women, aged 18-64, who had had at least one pregnancy. The study found that many of the women had dental problems, and that with more children came greater risks for gingivitis, periodontal disease and lost teeth.

“While it has been shown that pregnancy raises the risk of gingivitis, the gingivitis usually goes away after the birth of the child,” stated the study. “But if a woman has repeated pregnancies and more frequent outbreaks of gingivitis, she may develop periodontal disease, which, if left untreated, can eventually cause tooth loss.”

In addition to increased rates of gingivitis, pregnant women also have other issues that can affect their oral health, such as vomiting from morning sickness or an increased desire for junk food. Vomiting can erode tooth enamel, making teeth more susceptible to cavities, while consuming large quantities of sugary, starchy foods can also have deteriorative effects on teeth. The research also found that mothers with several children are more likely to eat the junk food that their kids are eating.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has similar results, reporting that although almost a quarter of pregnant women surveyed reported having dental problems, less than half of those women sought treatment.

Russell also noted that, “many dentists are reluctant to treat pregnant women, and women who have to care for more children may have less time to visit the dentist.” She added that women with multiple children might also forgo their own dental care due to a lack of money.

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