Well, This is Strange: Larger Families Are Linked to Tooth Loss in Moms

Sometimes scientific studies give us the strangest information. Today in really odd studies that we didn’t know we needed, researchers suggest that having a large family can mean a higher tooth loss risk in moms. So … apparently, the more kids you have, the more likely your teeth are to fall out. I’ve read this study several times, and I still don’t necessarily understand it.

There’s a saying, “Gain a child, lose a tooth.”

We don’t normally put much weight in little superstitious sayings like that, but researchers have found that there very well may be a link between having more children and tooth loss in moms. Just one more reason this motherhood gig is the best ever, right?

The study looked at data from Wave 5 of the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). SHARE has information about the health, education level, and household income of more than 120,000 adults from 27 European countries and Israel. Wave 5 was conducted in 2013. This wave of the survey focused on the reproductive history and number of natural teeth in almost 35,000 survey respondents. Why? I have no idea.

The average age of respondents in Wave 5 was 67, and the average reported tooth loss was 10 teeth. Obviously, tooth loss increased with age. And higher educational levels were linked to fewer missing teeth. But the really interesting part was the link between how many children the respondent had, and how many teeth they reported lost.

Researchers looked at the impact of having multiples, and having two children of the same sex (the assumption being that two children of the same sex meant couples were more likely to try for a third). The data showed that a third child after two children of the same sex was associated with significantly higher tooth loss in women but not men, when compared to respondents whose first two kids were different sexes.

When looking at the data, it would suggest that a third child was more detrimental to the mother’s dental health than the father’s. There’s obviously much more to be uncovered here, but the findings are fascinating nonetheless.

Don’t forget to brush and floss twice a day, moms. Just one more thing to worry about.

(Image: iStock/AntonioGuillem)

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