It is commonly known that stress during pregnancy can elevate the risk of complications during labor and birth, but a recent study shows that it may increase the risk for childhood tooth decay as well.
Dr. Wael Sabbah and a team of researchers from Kings College London and Seattle’s University of Washington analyzed date from 716 children and their mothers, each over 30 years old. The mothers’ waist measurements, blood pressures and biological indicators for stress during the pregnancy were monitored throughout the study. They also took regular blood tests in order to measure levels of glucose, C-reactive protein, trigylcerides, cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein.
Upon analyzing the data, they found that mothers with two or more allostatic load (AL) markers for stress were much more likely to have children who suffered from tooth decay than those who had no markers.
Also, non-breastfed children had a higher likelihood of developing decay. Mothers of a lower socio-economic level were less likely to breastfeed their children or take their children for a check-up than those with higher incomes.
Studies in the past have suggested a link between income/socio-economic status and risk of decay, however, this is the first study to report a link between stress during pregnancy and childhood tooth decay.
Sources: American Journal of Public Health