Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cavities After Pregnancy

Pregnancy does weird things to you.  I'm talking really weird things - as if anything is weirder than your stomach stretching out to hold a seven pound human being for nine months - like the fact that my hair has gotten darker (and grayer),  I have new freckles/sunspots, and my feet grew a half size.    Over the course of the last two years or so, these lovely little reminders of pregnancy have made their appearance one by one.  Each has prompted some head scratching, and taken some getting used to, but they seem minor enough. (And, I think this goes without saying, but totally worth it.  Duh.)

Anyways, the latest post-pregnancy symptom - however - has been the most inconvenient, costly, and painful (not to mention generally gross/embarrassing): I get a lot more cavities than I used to before being pregnant/having a baby.

Dear Sam,
I have gladly given you my entire mid-section, my feet, my hair, my time, and my sanity --- Could you maybe back off of my teeth?  Trust me when I say you don't want to be the kid who's mom has no teeth! Thanks for your consideration.
Here are the facts:  I've never had a perfect dental track-record; but, before I had Sam I had only I had three cavities EVER (one of which was actually during my pregnancy, come to think of it) But, in the last two years, I've had two MAJOR cavities that almost led to needing root canals and (I'm pretty sure) another one in the making now.  Plus, my latest dental x-rays showed several "dangerous" looking spot.  Weird right?

At first, it never occurred to me that I could actually blame pregnancy for this too.  I figured, reasonably, that it was a result of too much coffee, diet coke, and general sugary foods finally catching up with me.  I scolded myself (silently), and bought Jeff and I both fancy electric toothbrushes for Christmas.   We also bought a water-flosser (very fancy), and I felt hopeful that I could turn that train around.

But, honestly?  It didn't help much.

So, after my second round of major dental work a few months ago... I started Googling (naturally).  And, I was actually shocked to find that some studies suggest there is a legitimate link between pregnancy hormones and dental damage.  WHAaa?

Check out some of these sources:

"The Claim: Gain a Child, Lose a Tooth" (New York Times, 2007)
*Somehow I had never heard that wives tale before.

"Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates" (US News, 2008)

"Why Women Are More Prone to Cavities" (NBC News, 2008)

"Dental Health During Pregnancy" (Mayo Clinic, 2009)

And these don't include the hundreds of dental blogs and mom message boards discussing the topic...

Since I started asking around, I've discovered that actually A LOT of my friends have had similar experiences with their teeth.  It seems that some dentists are open about "blaming" pregnancy for dental problems, while others are still skeptical and say any correlation is more because of pregnancy cravings and bad habits that develop in new moms (like too much coffee and soda).  Either way, it is interesting and worth a thought.

So tell me... Did your pregnancy affect your teeth? What other unusual "symptoms" have you had post-pregnancy?


  1. Oh yeah! I actually had a tooth break, or actually crumble and fall out in the hospital after having my first baby! It was a tooth that had already had a root canal, but throughout my pregnancy it just deteriorated to the point of no return!

    Pregnancy is the best!

  2. OMG YES!! I have a 5 month old and went to the dentist a month ago for the first time since having her and SO MANY CAVITIES. Ridiculous. I've never had great teeth, but gahAnd yes the cost is probably what makes me the most upset ha.

  3. i ABSOLUTELY got cavities after pregnancy. FOUR! (and i blogged about it here:

    i think it was due to 1) diet coke 2) not being able to have x-rays when i was pregnant, which would have caught them earlier.

    and onto other pregnancy side-effects, my hair lost all its curl. and did you have that weird thing where your hair all fell out...then grew back in weird bangs (sorry to include two links to my blog, but this is what i'm talking about:

  4. Yikes. I already have horrible teeth, and even though I had a good dental checkup a few weeks ago, since we don't currently have dental insurance, I totally declined the x-rays. My hygienist about fell out of her chair when I told her I didn't want to pay for them... now I'm thinking maybe I should have. Never knew about this! Cursed teeth.

  5. pregnancy RUINED my already RUINED grill. In fact, when I saw a new dentist last month she said to me, "What happened to make your teeth so bad?!" gee thanks doc. I've had three cracked teeth in the last month, SINCE quitting Diet Coke & coffee. (maybe I should start up again?!) And I'm also on a "root canal watch" for a bad tooth. ugh.

    Anyways, I am now on Prevident, a $17 high-floride toothpaste for my rapidly decaying teeth. Part of me just wants them to all fall out so I can rock a pretty, white, straight mouth of dentures. I might not be able to eat apples, but really, that's not a big part of my diet anyways. :)

  6. I too have spent more time and money at the dentist since having my daughter. I hadn't had a cavity in literally 15 years and have had 5 in the past two. My dentist also informed me that I grind my teeth at night. Yikes! I'm pretty good at flossing and brushing and even use a prescription fluoride toothpaste, but it didn't seem to help too much. My dentist says he sees this happen in lots of women. That at least made me feel better:) I have tried to cut down on my coffee addiction. We'll see in 6 months if it helped:) I feel like such on old person with my special toothpaste and night guard:)

  7. Prior to pregnancy I had two cavities. In 34 years. Then I went to the dentist after having Little Man. Six. Six of them. Disgusting. And I totally blamed pregnancy. Thank you for validating my claim!!

  8. What On Earth?! Here I am up in the middle of the night googling pregnancy and cavities, and found your blog. I haven't ever had cavities my 38 years of life. I went to the dentist today for the first time after having baby (he is now 15 months old), and I have EIGHT CAVITIES!!! My dentist asked me if I took prenatal vitamins (Yes), was a big soda drinker (No). I'm convinced hormones and pregnancy gave me tooth decay.


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