The Connection Between Oral Health and Fertility

Oral health seems to be closely related to fertility and also to pregnancy. Periodontal disease is most linked to disorders.
The Connection Between Oral Health and Fertility

Last update: 29 March, 2021

Oral health is much more important than it seems and is apparently connected to fertility. As we’ll see, its decay isn’t merely about aesthetics and can seemingly influence many other body processes.

Being in good oral health means there’s an absence of diseases that affect the mouth and make it hard for a person to bite, smile, chew, or speak. It also encompasses disorders that affect a person’s psychological well-being.

For example, caries, sores, or periodontal disease mean there’s poor oral health. Currently, the influence of this balance on the rest of the body functions and organs is under investigation.

Today’s article will concentrate on the influence of oral health on fertility. It’ll also discuss its relationship with pregnancy as both topics are closely linked.

Periodontal disease

We first need to explain periodontal disease before getting into the relationship between oral health and fertility. This is because it seems to be the condition that’s most closely tied to fertility.

Periodontal disease is a disorder that affects the gums. It consists of an inflammation of this area and is generally due to poor dental hygiene. What happens is that tartar, a sticky layer composed of bacteria and food debris, accumulates in this area.

Eventually, this tartar hardens and makes the gums become swollen and inflamed. It gets between the teeth and affects their structure to such a degree they may actually end up falling out. Periodontal disease may go unnoticed, but it can also lead to pain and bleeding gums.

A smiley woman who knows about the connection between oral health and fertility.
The dentist is the professional in charge of evaluating your oral health.

What’s the relationship between oral health and fertility?

Some common factors influence both fertility and oral health: smoking and aging, for example.

However, it wasn’t until relatively recently that researchers began to investigate the direct relationship between oral health and the degree of fertility. According to the latest studies, certain bacteria involved in periodontal disease are much more frequent in women who can’t conceive a baby.

What they found is that women who were unable to conceive had a higher number of bacteria such as Porphyromonas gingivitis. This seems to cause inflammation in the female genital organs and thus affects the chances of getting pregnant.

In addition, according to the scientists from the University of Western Australia, women with periodontal disease may spend up to seven months trying to become pregnant.

Interestingly, there’s also a connection between oral health and other diseases like type 2 diabetes mellitus and arthritis. The discovery of this possible mechanism related to fertility is quite new though.

A tooth with periodontitis.
According to the latest studies, there’s a connection between periodontal disease and fertility, in addition to the oral problems it causes.

What’s the relationship between oral health and pregnancy?

The truth is that pregnancy influences the entire body as hormone levels that regulate and deregulate physiological mechanisms alter throughout the process. Both estrogens and progestogens affect oral health.

It’s common for oral problems to arise from the second month of pregnancy onwards. This is because the hormones mentioned above alter the bacterial balance of our gums. Therefore, they become much more sensitive to any infection.

Estimates indicate that almost two-thirds of pregnant women experience gingivitis during pregnancy. In addition, there seems to be a connection between periodontal disease and certain complications in the baby’s development. For example, it could be related to premature birth.

For this reason, professionals recommend paying close attention to oral health. Especially if you’re thinking of becoming pregnant or are already pregnant. Consult your dentist regularly and maintain proper dental hygiene.

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