There’s an old wives’ tale that goes something like “gain a child, lose a tooth,” and it turns out that it just might be true. A new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health reports that having more children can be linked to an increase in tooth loss for mothers. Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, also known as SHARE, the research team looked at health information for more than 120,000 adults that included their full reproductive history along with data on the number of teeth they had.

The study’s biggest finding was that mothers with three children had an average of four fewer teeth than mothers with two children. An interesting twist to this finding is that women who had a third child after having two children of the same gender had more missing teeth than women whose first two children were different genders.

The study only looked to find a link between tooth loss and number of children, so many limitations existed. The research team also did not establish a cause of the tooth loss as many factors can increase the risk of tooth loss among women.

Causes of Tooth Loss

The most common cause of tooth loss is gum disease. When the gums become infected, pockets begin to form, and over time the infection damages the connecting tissue holding the tooth in place. Other causes of tooth loss include trauma to the tooth via injury, smoking, heart disease and diabetes. The good news is gum disease is very preventable with a consistent and effective oral hygiene routine and regular visits to the dentist. When caught in the first stages of the disease, the damage is almost always reversible. The permanent problems occur if treatment is not sought out and the infection and disease continue to worsen without professional care.

For more information about gum disease or tooth loss or to schedule an appointment, call us today at The Fort Collins Dentist at 970-812-0355.