Written for Uterus1 by Michelle Alford
Regularly brushing your teeth not only improves your oral health, it improves your reproductive health. By keeping your mouth healthy, you improve your chances of conceiving and delivering a healthy baby.
Studies show that gum disease can negatively affect fertility. Women with gum disease take an average of two months longer to conceive than women with health mouths (seven months as compared to five months). Non-Caucasian women with gum disease were also significantly more likely to take over a year to conceive than those without gum disease.
Improve Reproductive Health Through Oral Health
Brush at least twice a day
Floss at least once a day
Gargle mouthwash for at least 30 seconds a day
Visit a dentist when trying to conceive and when you find out you're pregnant
“Our data suggest that the presence of periodontal disease is a modifiable risk factor, which can increase a woman’s time to conception, particularly for non-Caucasians. It exerts a negative influence on fertility that is of the same order of magnitude as obesity,” explains Professor Hart, Medical Director of Fertility Specialists of Western Australia. “All women should also be encouraged to see their dentist to have any gum disease treated before trying to conceive.”
Gum disease doesn’t only affect women’s fertility, either. Men with gum disease showed a significant decrease in sperm count in a study done by Hebrew University Hadassah School of Dental Medicine. Some men with serious periodontal disease showed sperm counts as low as zero.
In addition, gum disease in pregnant women can negatively their unborn babies. Women with periodontal disease are three to eight times more likely to give birth prematurely than those with healthy mouths. Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat, a professor of dental research at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, suggests that this is nature’s way of getting the baby away from harmful bacteria in the mother’s body. Babies born to mothers with gum disease are also far more likely to have low birth weights.
Whether you are trying to conceive or are currently pregnant, it is important to consider your oral health. Regular brushing and flossing encourages quick conception and healthy childbirth.
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Photo: Varun Suresh