Give Now  »

Noon Edition

Pregnancy and Tooth Loss

Pregnancy can be a wonderful experience. There's the rosy glow, the growing baby's thrilling first kick. Of course, being pregnant has its down side. There's morning sickness, after all, and then ultimately the painful process of actually giving birth.

According to New York University dental researcher Stefanie Russell, mothers-to-be can add one more complication to the list: tooth loss. Based on data collected from over 2,500 women who had been pregnant at least once, Russell claims to have found a link between pregnancy and the kinds of dental problems that loosen teeth.

As for what might explain the possible connection between pregnancy and tooth loss, the jury's still out. Russell offers several possible links. First, pregnancy can raise the risk of gingivitis, a gum disease. Pregnancy-related gingivitis normally disappears after birth, but multiple gingivitis outbreaks can result in periodontal disease, which over time can loosen teeth if not treated properly.

On a more pedestrian note, pregnancy-related tooth loss could also be due to the fact that many women with young children simply don't have time to go to the dentist. If you find yourself eating the sugary cereals and other junk food your kids crave, going without a dental check-up can become a problem.

None of this means that if you're pregnant your teeth will soon start falling out, but Russell's findings do strongly suggest that pregnant women should be on top of their dental health. Avoiding disease and tooth loss may be as simple as scheduling an appointment with your local dentist.

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science