We finally figured out why the German guy was asking Dustin Hoffman “Is it safe?” in the movie Marathon Man. Obviously his wife was planning on having her third child and he was worried about the folk saying from his native country, “Every child costs the mother one tooth.”
Leave it to the Americans to show that these words actually hold a great deal of truth. Across the socioeconomic strata the results of data examination were consistent: women who gave birth to more children tended to lose more teeth during their lives.
So the next time a pregnant patient is worried about the baby “robbing calcium from her teeth,” dentists can acknowledge that there is a real correlation between making babies and an increase in dental disease. And then take steps with the mother-to-be to minimize the oral flora aggression that seems to rise in their mouths.
Hopefully this will mean fewer drills aimed directly through the central incisors.