Written by Dr. Amanda Tavoularis (dentably.com)
Trying to conceive is an exciting and scary time for any couple. There is so much information about the right and wrong way to do things; it can be a bit overwhelming. One thing many couples don’t consider is how their oral health might affect their ability to conceive. That’s right- poor oral health can make it more difficult to conceive, and that goes for both partners. In particular gum disease, a common oral issue, has been linked to a multitude of fertility and pregnancy issues by the CDC and other organizations. For advanced cases look for Emergency Dentists USA to find a dentist that can help.
I’ve been a dentist for over 20 years and work with Dentably, and have helped couples at all stages in their lives. I'm here to tell you that if you’re trying to conceive, it pays to keep your mouth healthy. Let's look at gum disease; what it is, how it affects fertility, and what you can do to prevent it.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums and surrounding tissues. At first it symptoms include red and bleeding gums and general discomfort. Left untreated though, and it can lead to serious issues such as tooth loss. It’s most often caused by poor oral hygiene, but that’s not the only cause. Medications, changes in hormones, genetics, and more can also play a role in the disease. That means that even people with good oral habits could potentially develop gum disease depending on the other factors.
While it’s a fairly common infection, it is still important to get treatment as soon as possible if you suspect you or your partner has it. The longer you wait the worse it will become, and the more likely it is to affect your fertility. That’s why time is of the essence for couples looking to conceive.
How Does Gum Disease Affect Fertility?
What many couples don’t realize is just how much of an effect gum disease can have on their ability to get pregnant. Keep in mind that this extends to both partners, so it’s important for each one to keep up with their oral health. In cases where couples were suffering from gum disease, it took them up to seven months on average to conceive. This is in contrast to those without this disease that averaged 5 months. This is also true for men, where it was found had a harder time conceiving when suffering from gum disease.
If you’re looking to conceive, it never hurts to pay a visit to your dentist. They can help determine if you have gum disease, and give you the care you need to beat it. Ultimately, this can help you conceive easier and faster.
How is Gum Disease Prevented?
The best way to stop gum disease is to take preventative measures at home. As noted, poor oral hygiene is the leading cause of gum disease, so having good habits goes a long way to preventing it. Start by looking at your daily oral care routine. You should be brushing, flossing, and rinsing with a mouthwash each day. You should brush twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. It’s simple, but staying consistent here is the best way to keep gum disease out of your mouth.
It’s also a good idea to watch your diet and cut down on sugary snacks. Sugar is a killer for your mouth because it’s what bacteria feeds on to grow. The less you take in, the less opportunity those bacteria have. Not all sugar is bad, but keeping it to a minimum is a good idea. While having a good diet is imperative while you’re pregnant, it’s important before as well.
Lastly, it’s essential to keep visiting your dentist and going to your regular cleanings. As noted above, even with proper hygiene gum disease is still a risk for a multitude of other factors. That’s why visiting a dentist is important; they will be able to catch the disease if it happens before it gets worse. They’ll also be able to provide treatment options, and get your mouth back to a healthy state. Going to the dentist is also the best way to get a clean mouth. Over time plague and tartar build up in your mouth, which can lead to issues if left unchecked. A dentist has special tools to remove this buildup, and give you a deeper clean than brushing alone.
Keeping a healthy mouth is important for everyone, but even more so for those trying to conceive. Conceiving can be difficult enough; you don’t want to add another potential roadblock into the mix. Visit your dentist, keep up with your oral habits, and you and your partner will have at least one less thing to worry about during this special time in your life.