Women trying to have a baby
need to do more than pay attention to what they put on the inside of their body. According to one study, regular visits to the dentist and good oral hygiene are just as important as a healthy diet, watching your weight, and monitoring medications.
That's because gum disease
may increase the amount of time it takes for a woman to become pregnant by an average of an extra two months
. Fertility experts now know that, beginning with the time a woman starts trying to conceive, bad oral health can have a significant effect on how long it takes before conception occurs.
Professor Roger Hart of the University of Australia believes the negative effect of gum disease has the same magnitude as the effect of obesity on conception. He says, “Until now, there have not been published studies that investigate whether gum disease can affect a woman's chance of conceiving; so this is the first report to suggest that gum disease might be one of the several factors that could be modified to improve the chances of a pregnancy.”
The study followed 3737 pregnant women who were volunteers in a Western Australian study called the SMILE study. The researchers analyzed data on pregnancy planning and the outcome for 3416 of them. The analysis revealed that women with gum disease took an average of seven months to become pregnant. That's two months longer
than the average five months that it took for women with healthy gums to conceive. The study also confirmed other risk factors for conception such as age, obesity, and smoking.How does periodontal disease affect pregnancy chances?
Gum disease is chronic, infectious, and inflammatory. It affects the gum’s supporting tissues. The normal bacteria that everyone has in their mouth is the root cause and if it isn’t treated, it can create inflammation around the teeth. When this happens the gum begins to pull away from the tooth and those new spaces, or periodontal pockets, become infected. This inflammation sparks a series of events that destroys tissue and will eventually pass into blood circulation.
For this reason, periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease
, type-2 diabetes, kidney and respiratory disease, as well as miscarriage and premature birth. Experts believe approximately 10% of the population has severe periodontal disease. The best way to prevent it is simply brushing and flossing your teeth on a consistent and regular basis.
Any women trying to convince should be encouraged to visit their dentist as well as a general practitioner. If they do have gum disease, it is easily treated and could shorten the length of time it takes for pregnancy to occur. Good news, because for a woman anxious to have a baby, two extra months of waiting to conceive can seem like a lifetime.