Did you know that gum disease may be why you haven’t conceived?
When it comes to trying to conceive, don't brush off the importance of oral hygiene, says Dr Amanda Tavoularis of dentably.com.
So, you’re ready to try getting pregnant. You and your doctor both agree that it’s the right time for kids. Everything in your marriage has been prepared, so it’s frustrating that your body is getting in the way. You aren’t quite ready for fertility treatments, but you’re running out of other ideas!
Did you know that there are other reasons you may be having some fertility issues? Although it is still a great idea to ditch the sugary drinks and sperm count-reducing foods, these may not be the only things standing in the way of you conceiving: oral hygiene is actually linked to fertility!
Periodontal issues and gum disease have been scientifically linked to fertility in both male and female subjects. Although there is still no guarantee that you will get pregnant with perfect oral hygiene, due to a variety of other factors, if you are having trouble conceiving and also have some oral issues to take care of, then maintaining proper hygiene may help you conceive.
Gum disease and your mouth
Fertility and gum disease are scientifically linked. Although the cause is still being determined, if you have swollen and red gums, you may need to see a dentist about gum disease.
If your gum disease goes untreated, you can lose your teeth and your jawbone may even start to deteriorate. More people have this disorder than are aware, one in 10 have severe periodontal disease and over half of adults have gingivitis.
Gum disease and its effect on fertility
Several studies have been performed by America's National Institutes of Health on the subject. The most talked-about study concluded that the time to conception in women with periodontitis was significantly longer than those without. Another study also links men’s fertility with their oral hygiene.
Female fertility and gum disease
Women who have good oral hygiene take less time to conceive than women with oral care issues. In fact, women with periodontal disease actually take around two months longer to conceive than healthy women on average.
The majority of research regarding oral hygiene and fertility has been conducted on male subjects, so more studies are being undertaken with regards to women, but this study and a few others show a significant correlation between gum disease and infertility. When you have periodontal disease, your immune system is on high alert, so it increases the likelihood of miscarriage or implant failure thanks to reactions to the embryo implantation.
On the other hand, other common causes of infertility, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis, are correlated with increased risk for periodontal disease, so that may also have an impact. In fact, one study showed that women with endometriosis are 57% more likely than women without it to have gingivitis.
While you’re pregnant, you still need to maintain proper oral hygiene. Although it’s tempting to skip appointments during pregnancy out of fear of how the medications will affect your baby, it’s worse not to go. Your dentist knows what to avoid during pregnancy, and poor oral health can lead to gestational diabetes and low birth weight. Healthy teeth are vital for your fertility and the health of your baby.
Male infertility and gum disease
Poor oral hygiene results in gum disease and tooth decay. The gum disease that men get with bad oral care leads to poor sperm and semen health. Male factor infertility is much more common in men with poor oral hygiene.
Gum disease will actually lower your sperm count, too. Among the sperm left, they will be more likely to have abnormal shapes, be unable to swim fast enough to inseminate eggs, and potentially even contain bacterial infections. The good news is that men who treat their cavities and infections have healthier sperm.
Gum disease prevention
Practicing good oral hygiene will keep your mouth healthy and prevent these gum disease issues. Although periodontal disease has a lot to do with genetic indicators, it’s also correlated with oral hygiene. You can control these factors by regular care and dental visits.
Make sure that you are getting regular teeth cleaning by your dentist. Periodontal cleaning is also a good idea to make sure those deeper gum pockets stay clean. Taking care of those cavities will also help prevent fertility issues because tooth decay can cause periodontal disease.
Finally, remember that it is important to maintain a healthy diet and to brush and floss after meals. Flossing will reach the places a brush can’t and proper diet and oral care prevent these issues before they start.