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Can Pregnancy Stress Cause Childhood Cavities?
Posted on 1/30/2016 by Brandon Cooley
A stressful pregnancy can lead to a variety of potential complications for both mom and baby. However, a new study has shown that this stress could actually increase the child's risk for developing cavities as he gets older. These findings provide more evidence for the importance of a stress-free pregnancy.
Researchers from King's College London recently completed a study regarding the effects of pregnancy stress on childhood cavities, and their findings were published within the American Journal of Public Health.
They were inspired to complete this study based on the high incidence of dental cavities in the U.S., as the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research states that 42% of children under the age of 11 have cavities.
While it is well known that consuming high-sugar foods and failing to care for the teeth can cause these issues, stress levels during pregnancy were also believed to play a role.
The team of researcher examined data from 716 kids ages 2-6 as well as their mothers (who were at least 30 years old). Markers of chronic stress were examined throughout the mothers' pregnancy. Specific measures assessed included HDL cholesterol, glucose, waist circumference, and blood pressure.
The study found that women with two or more of these markers were more likely to have children with dental cavities compared to mothers without any of these markers. On a semi-unrelated note, the researchers also found that cavities were more common in children who were not breastfed.
The findings of this study show that maternal stress needs to be considered as a potential risk factor for the development of cavities.
However, the team does not go as far as to say that chronic stress during pregnancy is a cause of cavities, but the findings suggest that strategies to reduce stress during pregnancy should be sought in order to improve the dental health of children.
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