Childhood Trauma Might Cause Tooth Loss later in Life

A new study
conducted at the University of Michigan suggests childhood trauma might be
linked to a higher risk of tooth loss later in life. The research looked at the
impact of negative childhood events on oral health and found that childhood
abuse leads to tooth loss.

Oral health problems are linked to other health problems

Former studies conducted on oral health found that diabetes
and lung disease are risk factors for a number of oral health conditions. Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry specialists
often meet patients who suffer from diabetes and struggle with tooth loss at
the same time. This happens because the medical treatment for diabetes leads to
dry mouth. This leads to a number of oral health problems which eventually lead
to tooth loss. Smoking and lung disease also have the same negative impact on
your oral health.

The link between your lifestyle and tooth loss

Because 20% of all Americans over the age of 50 suffer from tooth
loss
, researchers wanted to find if there are any life events which can
lead to tooth loss. Researchers conducted a representative longitudinal study
on mature adults, analyzing their oral health, social status and childhood
experiences, as well as family history. The study revealed that more than 13%
of the adults in their 50s had lost their teeth. 30% of them had financial
problems, had lost their parents or went through their parent’s divorce by the
age of 16. 10% of the respondents had suffered physical abuse during childhood
and 18% smoked during childhood. Half of the respondents had a high school
diploma and had experienced poverty at least once. Researchers found that older
adults are at higher risk of total tooth loss if they had struggled with
multiple negative experiences during their lifetime.

Childhood trauma linked to destructive habits

The research showed that traumatic
events
in childhood can lead to a destructive behavior. People who
experience abuse in their childhood years are more prone to engage in smoking,
binge drinking or become addicted to sugar or nicotine. This pattern of
destructive behavior can lead to total tooth loss.

Another problem discovered during the study is that childhood
trauma can also be linked to low education, as people are prone to leave school
earlier, due to the negative impact of trauma on learning and achievement. Lack
of higher education translates into lack of dental insurance, which also
contributes to a poor oral health.

Overall, the study revealed that childhood abuse can impact
oral health later in life, by opening a vicious cycle. Traumatic events
decrease one’s self-confidence and make them prone to engaging in destructive
behaviors, especially during their teenage years. Due to a lack of self-esteem,
people are prone to leave school early, which leaves them with financial
struggles, as well as the inability to secure a higher paid job. The lack of
money and dental insurance, as well as smoking, drinking and other health
problems lead to oral health problems which end with the loss of permanent
teeth later in life.