While pregnancy can give many women several reasons to grumble, there is now at least one reason to smile during those nine long months - and there's a study to prove it.
But tell that to Stacey Solomon.
The popular British TV personality recently penned a column for The Sun where she opened up about how her teeth became damaged and "destroyed" during her latest pregnancy, equating her difficult dental issues with the fact that she was expecting. In her column, Stacey even admitted that during the first trimester of her second pregnancy, she was seeing her dentist more than her midwife.
"All of a sudden I was being drilled into left, right and centre," she said. "My teeth turned a funny colour, I had to have some removed as they were so damaged and I was soon full of fillings."
But was all of this a direct result of her pregnancy, or were there other issues at play?
According to the 2018 study conducted out of The University of Otago, Sir John Walsh Research Institute in Dunedin, New Zealand, as recently as 2005, one in five US mothers believed that a woman's dental health is likely to deteriorate through having children. There are several good reasons for this association - one of the most common being gum swelling. Hormones produced during pregnancy can negatively impact some aspects of a woman's oral health, and many pregnant women suffer from moderately inflamed gums, which are a result of hormonal changes that affect the immune response to bacterial plaque.
Although more severe periodontal cases are rare, they too can be explained without blaming pregnancy or the number of children a woman has, according to researchers. Socioeconomic factors, for example, have been shown to play a significant role. A higher level of education contributes to overall better oral health and a lower incidence of damaging health behaviors, which could potentially negatively affect the teeth and gums. In other words, experts warn that before jumping to conclusions that pregnancy and children are the reasons for tooth loss and gum disease, other potential underlying factors must be considered.
The good news is, smile! Most oral health problems pregnant women experience tend to be mild and temporary and the majority of them resolve on their own shortly after the baby is born.