The nationwide study conducted by Dr. Stefanie Russell, an assistant professor of Epidemiology & Health Promotion, examined 2,635 women. The results of the study were based on data on white and black, non-Hispanic women, age 18-64. All reported at least one pregnancy in the Third National Health and Nutritional Survey.
The study was innovative due to the fact that this was the first time a connection was found between pregnancy and tooth loss that affected women at all socio-economic levels.
Pregnancy can make women much more prone to things like gingivitis. The un-born fetus extracts vital minerals like calcium from the mother’s body to help complete development. When the nutrients can’t be mined from the mother’s nutritional intake, the body extracts it from its reserves, most notably taking calcium from her teeth.
Another factor is less scientific and more economic. Women may put off vital dental visits due to the financial concerns arising from a new child. It’s easy for a mother to put aside her own dental health needs to ensure she has the money to provide for her child. Also, a woman taking care of an infant may just be too plain busy to address her oral health as she might have done before.
Although more research needs to be done to establish any other links, there are definitely enough cause-and-effect factors found to make a connection. In the meantime, remember, if you’re pregnant come in and see Dr. Matthews at his Austin office as soon as possible. Though you may think it can wait and although your child’s needs do come first, dental health is a sure stepping stone to overall health for you and your new addition.