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Does Gum Disease Inhibit Pregnancy?

In Gum Disease on July 7, 2011 at 4:30 AM

According to a recent ScienceDaily® article highlighting another health complication related to gum disease, Professor Roger Hart told the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology that the negative effect of gum disease on conception was of the same order of magnitude as the effect of obesity.

That’s a pretty staggering and scary proclamation. And one we should share with every woman we know that could be contemplating a family.

Photo Courtesy of Jenny Rollo©

Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.1

It’s when this bacteria, if left unchecked due to poor oral health habits, creates inflammation around the tooth; the gum starts to pull away from the tooth, creating spaces (periodontal pockets) that become infected.2

The inflammation sets off a cascade of tissue-destructive events that can pass into the circulation. As a result, periodontal disease has been associated with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, respiratory and kidney disease, and problems in pregnancy such as miscarriage and premature birth.3

Conception Complications

Prof Hart, who is Professor of Reproductive Medicine at the University of Western Australia (Perth, Australia) and Medical Director of Fertility Specialists of Western Australia, said:

“Until now, there have been no 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 several factors that could be modified to improve the chances of a pregnancy.”

The researchers followed a group 3737 pregnant women, who were taking part in a Western Australian study called the SMILE study, and they analyzed information on pregnancy planning and pregnancy outcomes for 3416 of them.

They found that women with gum disease took an average of just over seven months to become pregnant — two months longer than the average of five months that it took women without gum disease to conceive.4

Information on time to conception was available for 1,956 women, and of, these, 146 women took longer than 12 months to conceive — an indicator of impaired fertility. They were more likely to be older, non-Caucasian, to smoke and to have a body mass index over 25 kg/m2. Out of the 3416 women, 1014 (26%) had periodontal disease.5

Additionally, Professor Hart mentions that all women should also be encouraged to see their dentist to have any gum disease treated before trying to conceive. It is easily treated, usually involving no more than four dental visits.

Schedule a dental appointment and talk to your dentist about gum disease and Periodontitis BEFORE you decide to plan a pregnancy.

For more staggering statistics on the study, click over to the ScienceDaily® article here.

Then go share this important piece of dental health information!

 
 

Sources:

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  1. […] been linked to plenty of other physical ailments, like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and even premature birth; but there is a simple way to fend off gum disease or periodontitis – […]

  2. […] exams become anything but routine when we factor in some other health-related variables. Pregnancies, diabetes, even chemotherapy all represent opportunities for the cavity creeps to grab hold of our […]

  3. I lost a tooth and had a treatment of Arestin in other infected teeth in February 2011. I found out I was pregnant in March and I miscarried in April. In July I was diagnosed with severe aggressive localized periodontitis. I’m having regenerative gum surgery in August. We still want to conceive, how long should we wait until the bacteria is gone and my body can conceive?

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