Oral Health And Fertility: The Links

eggMost people are aware that lifestyle factors have an influence on fertility, but did you know that your oral health could also have an impact on your ability to conceive a child?

 How is oral health linked to fertility?

Professor Roger Hart, from the University of Western Australia, has urged couples who are looking to conceive to look after their oral health and said that gum disease has as much impact on conception as obesity, a known risk factor for infertility. Professor Hart addressed the audience at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Stockholm, Sweden, informing them that poor oral health was linked to an increased risk of infertility.

Professor Hart, professor of Reproductive Medicine at the University of Western Australia and Medical Director of Fertility Specialists in Western Australia, outlined the findings of a study, which he believes was the first to investigate the link between gum disease and the chance of conception. The research team analysed data from more than 3,400 pregnant women and found that women who had gum disease took an average of two months longer to conceive than women who did not have gum disease.

 pregnency-3Advice for women hoping to conceive

The advice from Professor Hart and dental experts all over the world is to look after your oral health. Brushing twice a day for at least two minutes each time, using fluoride toothpaste and flossing will all help to keep the teeth and gums strong and healthy. Regular dental appointments are also really important and dentists recommend 6 monthly visits. Diet also plays an essential role in the maintenance of good oral health; avoid snacking on sugary and acidic foods, take in plenty of calcium and eat a healthy, balanced diet.

 Advice for pregnant women

According to research, gum disease is not just a concern for women hoping to conceive; it is also a major issue for pregnant women. Several studies have shown that there is a link between poor oral health and an increased risk of premature birth, low birth weight and stillbirth. Dental care is essential for pregnant women and dentists advise expectant mothers to visit their dentist for a check-up at least once during their pregnancy. The website of this popular Melbourne dentist has more information on gum disease.

Pregnancy

Symptoms of gum disease to look out for include bleeding gums when brushing or after brushing, swollen and sore gums, redness in the gums. If you have any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to see your dentist as quickly as possible so that the condition can be treated before it becomes more advanced.

Gum disease is thought to increase the risk of complications during childbirth because harmful bacteria from the mouth can travel to other parts of the body via the bloodstream; it is believed that these bacteria can trigger reactions, which bring about premature labour.