At our family dentistry in McKinney, Dr. Lawrence provides the outstanding dental care patients of all ages need to keep looking and feeling their best. While every member of the family needs to make regular dental care and daily brushing and flossing a top priority to enjoy a healthy smile, a recent study suggests that mom may face more challenges avoiding a common oral problem.
Mothers with larger families have a higher risk for suffering from permanent tooth loss, according to a recent large study. Researchers discovered mothers that have given birth to three children have an average of four fewer teeth when compared to women that have two kids.
Mothers at Risk
In the study, researchers examined data collected as part of the Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe. While examining all of the relevant data, the team concentrated on survey participants over the age of 50 living in countries located throughout central and western Europe. The survey included questions on reproductive history and the number of natural teeth participants still had remaining.
The majority of adults have 28 teeth, plus four wisdom teeth. The average number of missing teeth reported by the study participants was 10.
In examining the data, researchers weren’t concerned with whether participants still had their wisdom teeth, neither were they interested in participants with one or no kids. Rather, the team focused on the impact of having twins or triplets, and also the sex of the first two children, working under the assumption that if parents had two kids of the same sex, they might be more inclined to have a third.
What they discovered, however, was that a third child after having two of the same sex was linked to a significant increase in missing teeth for women when compared to parents with two kids of the opposite sex.
Researchers believe this data point suggests that having a third child could be detrimental to a mother’s oral health. However, the research team does point out that this study does not conclusively prove that having more than two kids increases the risk of tooth loss, and that further study is required.
A Lack of Family Dental Care Potentially the Cause
When examining the reasons behind this increase in tooth loss, researchers were confronted with the idea that a lack of dental care may be what’s behind these mothers failing oral health. While access to dental care has been improving throughout most European nations, a stark inequality still exists.
Much as it is in the U.S., dental care becomes a luxury to patients and families without insurance. However, while European health care systems, such as Britain’s NSH, provide some level of preventative dental care to patients, Medicaid and Medicare in the U.S. provide almost no dental benefits for adults.
Even in a system that offers some basic care, researchers found that a number of factors contribute to poor oral health and tooth loss, socio-economic status being chief among them. As families grow, less disposable income exists to allow parents to receive the kind of dental care they need as they grow older.
Women also have a higher risk of developing lasting oral health problems during pregnancy due to the constant fluctuation of hormones that occurs during this time. Pregnancy gingivitis is a common condition that can last months and even over a year following the birth of a child. An increased number of children, coupled with a lack of available dental care, can combine to create a significant long-term problem for many mothers.
Regular Visits to Our Family Dentistry in McKinney is Key
What the results of this and other studies show is that regular dental care is key to determining the long-term health of a patient’s teeth and gums. Unfortunately, many patients still view dental care as a luxury they only receive either when a problem develops or when covered by insurance. In reality, a growing amount of research has found that individuals suffering from poor oral health have an increased risk for everything from tooth loss to heart disease to cancer. Protecting both the health of our smiles and bodies requires regular dental care.
At McKinney Smiles, we remain committed to making dental care affordable to all patients. With our Dental Wellness Plan, we offer patients without insurance an alternative that enables them to receive the care they require on time and within their budget. No one should be unable to receive the dental care they deserve. Click here to learn amount more about our plan and to schedule your next appointment with Dr. Lawrence today!