Healthy gums are important not only for proper eating and digestion purposes but for so much more – especially when it comes to fertility. Some O.B.G.Y.N. doctors now think that gum disease may lessen a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. Not having good oral health causes great harm – almost as bad as being overweight when trying to get pregnant.
What problems does gum disease cause?
Not long ago it was found that women who had gum disease took over seven months to conceive whereas most women conceive in about five months. The main culprit, some think, is inflammation of the gums. When inflamed gums are not treated, it affects the entire body. Gum disease has already been causing problems with the heart, diabetes and, in some cases, miscarriages for some women. In addition, gum disease has been found to lower the sperm count in men.
Studies previously carried out have shown a link between healthy teeth, gums and fertility. In those studies it was also found that women who sought fertility treatments were more prone to having problems with their gums than those who conceived without fertility treatments. Another study found that women who had serious gum disease were more likely to have premature babies or have babies that had a low birth weight.
How can this be avoided?
To avoid fertility problems with a birth and to keep yourself healthy before, during and after pregnancy, there are things you can do such as brushing and flossing every day. This will keep plaque away and maintain your gums healthy. If, however, you currently have gum disease, it is important to see your family dentist as soon as you can to get the treatment you need. He or she can inspect your gums, clean your teeth and offer tips on keeping your teeth and gums in good shape.
Maintenance is essential
Studies have also shown that a woman is more susceptible to gum disease during her second month of pregnancy and also around the eighth month stage of pregnancy. It seems that many women avoid going to the dentist during pregnancy and that can cause problems with the birthing process; especially if gum disease develops. That is why it is important to talk with your O.B.G.Y.N. on the progress of your pregnancy and the condition of your teeth and gums.
What does the research tell us?
Scientists have found it is the bacteria in plaque that eventually leads to gum disease. It can be a mild inflammation or become a serious concern when the gums pull away from the teeth and bones of the mouth – because this is when it could cause a loss of teeth. New studies have shown in the past that gum disease which is severe can lead to a low birth weight, a preterm birth and a restriction of foetal growth of the baby. In addition, gum disease also offers a higher risk to a heart attack or stroke. It is the bacteria – if it enters the blood stream – that can cause inflammation in the body, especially the placenta.
To conclude, before, during and after pregnancy, be sure to have a dental check up and to talk with your gynaecologist on any oral health concerns you might have, because your health and your newborn baby’s health are important.