Don’t Forget to Brush and Floss

Mom always said ‘brush your teeth so you don’t get cavities.’ A new study may justify a mothers plea for clean teeth by showing that good oral health can also contribute to achieving a healthy pregnancy faster.

The preliminary findings in a recent study conducted by Professor Roger Hart of the University of Western Australia show that women with gum disease take, on average, two additional months to achieve a pregnancy than women with great oral health.

Professor Hart examined the pregnancy planning and outcome of 3,416 women in Australia. Statistically, women with gum disease took a little longer than seven months to conceive. Women without gum disease conceived in approximately five months. Hart also found that for 13.9% of non-Caucasian women with gum disease, it took a year to achieve a pregnancy, compared to 6.2% of their Caucasian counterparts.

In a news briefing, Hart said: “Our data suggest that the presence of periodontal disease is a modifiable risk factor, which can increase a woman’s time to conception, particularly for non-Caucasians. It exerts a negative influence on fertility that is of the same order of magnitude as obesity. This study also confirms other, known negative influences upon time to conception for a woman; these include being over 35 years of age, being overweight or obese, and being a smoker.” (27th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction & Embryology)

Hart speculates that non-Caucasian women’s pregnancies were more impacted by gum disease because these women may have an elevated level of inflammatory response to the condition.

He concluded that women should resolve any periodontal disease before attempting to conceive. (ESHRE)

The study did not examine the impact of oral health on those going through infertility treatments; however, the benefits of proper oral care may cause women who are trying to conceive to resolutely pick up their toothbrush and floss. (Mayo Clinic)

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