Amazing, as it seems, dental hygiene can affect fertility. It is crucially important that women who wish to become pregnant make an appointment with their dentist since oral health should be assessed prior to becoming pregnant. But outside of simply having a healthy mouth, can dental hygiene affect your chances of conceiving a baby?
Plaque and Gingivitis
Gingivitis, a periodontal disease characterized by gum inflammation, is a result of plaque/bacteria build-up on the teeth. Left untreated gingivitis will eventually result in gum disease/periodontitis. Consequently, bacteria that can enter into the bloodstream can be harmful and may affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant.
Periodontal disease has similar effects on fertility as other conditions like obesity, age (over 35) and smoking. Researchers in Australia followed nearly 4,000 pregnant women in a study analyzing the effects of gum disease and becoming pregnant. Women who were diagnosed with gum disease took more than seven months to become pregnant. Women without gum disease only took five months to conceive.
What You Can Do
Women who want to become pregnant should be sure to see their dentist first. In just a few visits, a dentist will diagnose whether or not the patient has periodontal disease or gingivitis and help you develop a treatment plan to overcome it before your teeth become stressed by pregnancy. Here are things you can do to ensure good dental hygiene while seeking to get pregnant.
· Hormonal changes can affect gums and teeth, increasing the risk of periodontal disease. Continue to see your dentist before and after becoming pregnant. During the visit inform the dentist concerning the medications and vitamins you’re taking. Be certain to advise the dentist if you’re undergoing fertility treatment. He or she may adjust treatment accordingly.
· Reduce tooth decay and other oral health problems by brushing teeth at least twice a day and flossing. Brush your teeth prior to bedtime and following each meal. Be sure to floss carefully and conscientiously.
· Rinsing with mouthwash is important to good oral health. Use a mouthwash with fluoride and ingredients that also kill bacteria-causing plaque.
· Have your teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year, unless the dentist suggests otherwise.
· A well balanced diet that avoids carbohydrates will assist in protecting teeth against tooth decay. Eliminate the traces of carbohydrates left on your teeth by brushing soon after.
· Traditionally, patients have been discouraged from chewing gum. However, gum that contains xylitol, a sweetener that’s proven to slow bacteria growth (at least temporarily) can be influential in the fight against tooth decay.
Whether you are seeking to become pregnant or are looking for dentist for your whole family, Dr. Steven Hagerman at the Family and Cosmetic Dentistry will assess all of your dental concerns. The friendly staff at Hagerman Dental Care in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota welcomes your inquiry. If you have any questions about our cosmetic, restorative, pediatric or general dentistry services, or you would like to schedule an appointment or consultation, please call our office at (651) 646-2392. You can also request an appointment online.