When you decide to grow your family, it’s one of the most exciting times in your life as a couple, but did you know that your dental health can play a big role in fertility?
Dr. Amanda Tavoularis has been practicing dentistry for more than 20 years and has helped many couples with their dental health so that they can be as healthy as possible for conceiving a child. There can often be outside factors that are affecting your fertility, one being your oral health and gum disease. She looks at how gum disease can affect your fertility and some ways that you can work to prevent the condition;
WHAT IS GUM DISEASE?
Gum disease, also known as gingivitis or periodontitis, is a bacterial infection in your mouth that causes inflamed gums. Early symptoms of gum disease include red, swollen gums, and bleeding during brushing. While gum disease is common, left untreated, symptoms can become more severe and cause receding gums or loose teeth. The more severe symptoms become the harder it is to treat, which increases its chances of affecting your fertility. Gingivitis and periodontitis are caused most often from poor oral hygiene habits but other factors can cause the disease as well. This includes medication, illness, and hormone changes.
If you think you or your partner may have gum disease, it’s important that you visit your dentist as soon as possible and discuss treatment plans. The quicker you can get treated for gum disease the less likely it will affect your chances of becoming pregnant.
HOW DOES GUM DISEASE AFFECT FERTILITY?
Many people are unaware of how gum disease affects your fertility while trying to conceive a child, so you may be wondering too. Women who suffer from gum disease may take up to seven months or more to conceive, while women who don’t have the disease conceive in about five months. Men can be affected by gum disease as well. In fact, men with poor oral health are more likely to face male factor infertility due to the elevated levels of bacteria in the mouth.
If you and your partner are trying to conceive, visit your dentist for a dental exam and cleaning. Also, ask your dentist for a review of you and your partner’s gum health. You will want both of your mouths to be as healthy as possible so it doesn’t affect your fertility and you have a better chance of conceiving a child quicker.
CAN YOU PREVENT GUM DISEASE?
Working towards preventing gum disease is the best way to keep your mouth healthy. This is important so it doesn’t affect your chances of conceiving. The best way to try and prevent gum disease is to continue practicing a good dental care routine at home. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash. Interdental brushing is another way to prevent gum disease as it helps get rid of food and plaque from in between your teeth. Other ways to help prevent the disease are reducing stress, maintaining a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins, and avoiding grinding your teeth.
Even if you do take the proper measures to help prevent gum disease, you still may be susceptible to the disease. If so, your dentist or periodontist may recommend more frequent check-ups, cleanings, and treatments to better manage the condition.
As you prepare to grow your family, it’s important to embrace all the special changes that will be happening in your life. Having a baby is a beautiful thing and you and your partner are about to embark on a wonderful adventure. That’s why it’s important to work towards preventing the disease, and seeking treatment will put you on the path towards conceiving quicker so you can bring a new life into this world. This is such a special time for both you and your partner and you will want to do everything you can to be as healthy as possible.