For Stacey Solomon, the "gain a child, lose a tooth" myth isn't so far off. The mom of two and TV personality said that her second pregnancy gave rise to so many dental issues that in the first few months, she was seeing her dentist more than her midwife.
"Up until that point, I’d never even had a filling, and all of a sudden I was being drilled into left, right and center. My teeth turned a funny color, I had to have some removed, as they were so damaged, and I was soon full of fillings," the mom wrote in her column for the Sun.
Her teeth were so sensitive that she couldn't eat foods that were too hot or cold, and breathing in cold air through her mouth was excruciating. Despite smiling almost all the time before, the embarrassed mom rarely smiled during her pregnancy.
"Whatever was going on with me decided to settle around four months into my pregnancy, but I was left with brown, decayed teeth and, for the first time ever, I felt really down about my smile," said Solomon, who ended up getting fitted with veneers.
Solomon isn't the only one who has complained about pregnancy's effect on her teeth. It's a topic that often arises in parenting forums, where pregnant women complain about gum disease, plaque buildup and cavities.
"I've always had great teeth, never had a cavity. Until after my pregnancy, and I had my first one. And it was bad! I also suffered from sore gums throughout and for the few months after delivering. All seems gone and OK now, though," a mom from Frederick, Maryland, wrote.
But is it true that pregnancy is to blame for wrecking a woman's teeth?
Studies have shown a strong link between pregnancy and dental problems. For instance, research from 2005 found that out of 2,635 pregnant women, many had oral health issues, and the more children they had, the higher the risk for dental problems.
The causes, though, are more nuanced. Maybe pregnant women are less likely to visit the dentist, or dentists are more reluctant to treat pregnant women. Maybe extreme dental erosion is caused by acids in the mouth from morning sickness or acid reflux. Maybe pregnant and nursing women are eating more sugary foods they didn't usually consume before. Hormonal surges that increase the blood flow to the gum tissue could also make pregnant women more vulnerable to gum disease and lead to inflammation and bleeding (also known as pregnancy gingivitis).
Yup, pregnancy bodily changes sure are a doozy.