How Does Gum Inflammation Affect Fertility?
Many health-minded women hit the gym and clean up their diets prior to becoming pregnant. I give them kudos, because it’s not always easy to pass up the Cheetos in the vending machine or climb on the elliptical trainer when you’ve had a hard day at work.
Shopping the organic produce aisles, preparing nutritious meals, and doing research about pregnancy and child-rearing can be expensive and time-consuming, but a think a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby are worth the effort. A strong body, a prepared mind and a calm spirit are a gift to yourself, your unborn child and those around you.
Unfortunately, many do not know that oral health affects fertility as well as pregnancy. This topic was addressed earlier this month during the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Stockholm, Sweden. Australian researchers, who had examined the records of thousands of women, found that those with better dental health conceived – on average – two months before those who had gingivitis or periodontitis. Women with periodontal disease took more than seven months to conceive, while women with good oral health took only an average of five months to get pregnant, the researchers from the University of Western Australia noted. The cases of more than 3,400 women seeking to conceive a child were examined during the study.
Ladies, gum disease is preventable. Brushing, flossing and regular cleanings usually do the trick. But, if you have symptoms or have not seen your dentist in the last six months, you need to make an appointment. I think good dental health is just as important as taking a folic acid supplement and having a complete physical before trying to conceive a baby.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Bleeding gums
- Red, swollen or sore gums
- Loose teeth
- Gums pulling away from teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Gum infection or pus between teeth
Gum disease begins when bacteria in tooth plaque starts to harden and irritate the gums. If not addressed, the inflammation can become a full-blown infection, releasing toxins into the lungs and blood stream, where they inflict cellular damage. Gum disease is a progressive disorder and has been linked to premature birth and miscarriage, as well as tooth loss, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, kidney disease and respiratory ailments. Tobacco use, stress, systemic disease and some medications may contribute to gum disease, too.
These are not the thoughts we like to associate with bouncing baby boys and girls dressed pretty in pink, are they? But, these are the facts, and I want to be as direct as possible.
Your health – and the health of your unborn child – is very important to me, so please make a dental appointment, as well as schedule a checkup with an ob-gyn physician or your family practice doctor. Then, in a year or so, you can bring your beautiful healthy newborn in to meet me and my awesome staff at Focused Care Dental. We love babies and make goo-goo eyes with the best of ‘em.
Allan Melnick DDS
Tip of the Day:
If you are pregnant, eating a balanced diet is paramount to your health and that of your unborn child. Your baby’s teeth develop between the third and six month of gestation, so it’s essential that you get a broad range of nutrients, including adequate amounts of calcium, protein, iron, phosphorous and vitamins A, C and D. Please talk to your obstetrician about a healthy diet and taking a prenatal vitamin.