Mothers of three or more children on average have four fewer teeth than those with one fewer child, according to a research carried out by scientists from the department of density at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands.
Many have heard that tooth loss is associated with the number of children that a mother has, but there has been little evidence to prove it.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Epidemology & Community Health, also found that a third child after two of the same sex was associated with significantly more missing teeth for women, but not men, if compared with parents whose first two children were different sexes.
The scientists behind the study believed that there are several causes to this.
First, during pregnancy, expecting women may crave for sugary or acidic foods. The harmful oral bacteria feed on the sugar that the expecting women take and produce acid that can damage enamel. Tooth enamel is the shiny, protective outer layer of the tooth. If these harmful bacteria are not killed, they will cause cavities.
Furthermore, mothers with several children may also be more likely to eat the sugary food that their children are eating and have less time to visit the dentist.
It is also believed that the pregnancy hormones interfere with calcium absorption, leaving teeth vulnerable to decay.
Last, some expecting mothers experience morning sickness during pregnancy. When they vomit during pregnancy, acid from your stomach can come up from the stomach to the mouth. The acid can corrode the tooth enamel which can progress to become tooth decay.
The research found that additional birth will not affect the father’s oral health.
On basis of their findings, lead author Professor Stefan Listl recommended “enhanced promotion of oral hygiene, tooth-friendly nutrition, and regular (preventive) dental attendance – specifically targeted at expecting and parenting mothers”.