This old wives’ tale implies that for every baby a woman gives birth to, she loses a tooth. Today, we’ll discuss whether this saying is true or if losing teeth during pregnancy is simply a mouth myth.
The Idea Behind “Gain a Child, Lose a Tooth”
The commonly held belief behind this old wives’ tale is that pregnancy interferes with calcium absorption, and hormonal changes negatively affect oral health – therefore, exchanging the gain of a child for the loss of a tooth. And while it’s not a 1:1 exchange, evidence suggests that pregnancy directly affects oral health.
How Common Is It to Lose Your Teeth During Pregnancy?
Losing teeth during pregnancy, especially one whole tooth for every child, is a bit of a stretch. Still, a New York University College of Dentistry study of almost 3,000 women shows a link between tooth and gum disease and the number of pregnancies.
This conclusion could be due in part to common pregnancy symptoms that increase the risk of periodontal issues, including:
- Dry mouth from hormonal changes. Persistent dry mouth can increase the risk of cavities.
- Morning sickness. Consistent vomiting can slowly erode protective tooth enamel.
- Cravings for sugary and starchy foods. While sugars don’t directly cause cavities, they can contribute to them.
- Gingivitis, a type of gum disease, affects 60-75% of pregnant women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).15
Another explanation could be that pregnant women may be less likely to visit the dentist. A CDC study found that even though a quarter of pregnant women surveyed reported having dental problems, only half went in for dental work.
Don’t be part of that statistic! Schedule an appointment at Dakota Dental.
The Link Between Pregnancy and Calcium Deficiencies
While connections between pregnancy and dental issues certainly exist, it’s not true that mothers lose calcium from their teeth during pregnancy. The mother’s diet provides the calcium a baby needs, not her teeth. If dietary calcium is inadequate, however, the mother’s body will provide this mineral from reserves in her bones. An adequate diet of calcium-rich foods plus supplements will help ensure that both mother and baby get all the calcium needed during pregnancy.
The Link Between Pregnancy and Dental Issues
Regardless of the exact causes for each person, there’s a link between pregnancy and dental issues:
“Preventive dental cleanings and annual general dental services and exams during pregnancy are safe and recommended. The rise in hormone levels during pregnancy causes the gums to swell, bleed, and trap food, causing increased irritation to your gums. Preventive dental work is essential to avoid oral infections such as gum disease, which has been linked to preterm birth.” – American Pregnancy Association.
Pregnancy shouldn’t be a deterrent to visiting the dentist. Maintaining routine dental cleanings and addressing issues early on can help you and your baby stay healthy.
Visiting the Dentist While Pregnant
Pregnancy comes with many extra appointments, but make sure not to skip the dentist! While losing teeth during pregnancy may not happen to you, you don’t want to risk developing lasting dental problems or issues that impact your baby.
Our Dakota Dental Apple Valley dentists will provide the safest dental procedures and answer all pregnancy-related dental questions to help you feel comfortable. Schedule an appointment with our caring team today.