Dental Hygiene and Infertility
Adapted from "Porphyromonas Gingivalis may interfere with conception in women" published in June 2017 issue of the Journal of Oral Microbiology.
Studies have shown that periodontal diseases may be a risk for general health, low birth weight, preeclampsia, and preterm birth. It has also been linked to infertility, an increase in the likelihood of miscarriages, and poor sperm quality.
Periodontal diseases are prevalent worldwide: one in three adults suffer from moderate to severe periodontitis.
In a study at the University of Helsinki, a common periodontal pathogen was shown to delay conception in reproductive age women.
The study population comprised of 256 healthy non-pregnant women (age range 19 to 42) who had discontinued contraception to become pregnant. The study subjects were followed-up for a period of 12 months to establish whether or not they become pregnant.
Porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacterium associated with periodontal diseases, was significantly more frequently detected in the saliva among women who did not become pregnant during the one-year follow-up period than among those who did.
The levels of salivary and serum antibodies against this pathogen were also significantly higher in women who did not become pregnant.
Women with P. gingivalis in their saliva (and higher saliva or serum antibodies against the bacterium) had a threefold risk of not conceiving compared to the women who conceived.
More attention should be paid to the potential effects of common periodontal diseases on fertility and one’s health. Couples planning pregnancy are encouraged to take care of their oral health and maintain good oral hygiene.
Both partners should floss and water-pick daily and have regular dental checkups.