Chronic Maternal Stress Increases Dental Cavities in Kids


“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dates all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.” -Agatha Christie

Aren't mothers just lovely? It's easy to recognize all of the things that moms do for us. Most importantly, they bring children into the world, which is not an easy task!

Mothers often worry about many things, especially during pregnancy. For example, stress about the health of their child, their workload, or even about their diet. Not all stress is bad, however, there can be damaging effects on you and your child when stress becomes constant.

Stress causes your body to kick on its "fight or flight" mode, resulting in the release of stress hormones. Constant stress can cause your body’s stress system to overreact and trigger different responses in the body. According to a study by King's College London and University of Washington, chronic maternal stress has been linked to a higher prevalence of cavities among children.  An additional study published in the American Journal of Public Health suggests that chronic maternal stress can lead to lower likelihood of breast feeding and a lower amount of child dental visits.

The study included participants of 716 maternal-child pairs in the United States. The age range of the children was between two to six years, and mothers were on average 30 years of age. The researchers looked at the amount of allostatic load (AL), a biological marker of chronic stress, in the participants. They found that dental cavities appeared the most among children whose mother had several allostatic loads compared to those without these markers. They also showed that dental cavities were more common among children who were not breastfed than those who were breastfed.

Further, the researchers explored whether or not socioeconomic status played a role in their findings. Many studies have made associations between socioeconomic status and the prevalence of dental cavities. Their study showed that mothers with lower income were the greatest individuals affected.

Not to mention, there are some data that show that chronic stressors in women and poor coping skills may be associated with lower birth weight and increase the risk of premature births.

It is important to manage stress, especially during pregnancy. Stress can take a toll on a person biologically and influence the health of your child.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.


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