If you are trying for a baby with no success, you might discover that the secret is in your teeth.
We often think of our teeth as a separate entity from our overall health. However, it is important to keep in mind that oral health is very important and can be connected to other health problems. Keeping your teeth clean and well looked after is incredibly important for ensuring your overall health, including your fertility.
Periodontal Disease and Gingivitis
Gum diseases, such as periodontal disease and gingivitis, are chronic bacterial infections that affect the gums and the bones supporting the teeth1. Gingivitis is the milder form, which will cause the gums to become swollen, red and bleed easily. If this disease is untreated, it can advance to periodontitis. This is when the bacteria in the plaque will irritate the gums and stimulate a chronic inflammatory response. The gums will start to pull away from your teeth, which leaves pockets that are open to infection. Once the infection and inflammation sets in, the infection will be released into your bloodstream and can affect other parts of your body.
This gum infection is believed by researchers to affect your fertility. This is because when the bacteria in the gums starts to spread into the rest of your body, it can throw off your health and immune system2. Should you become pregnant, there is a much more likely chance that you will suffer from a miscarriage. Since the body is in a high immune response to battle the infection, the foreign tissue of the fetus can be attacked too.
If you are suffering from any gum disease, you should see your dentist to see get it treated before trying for a baby. The gum disease can often be easily treated and usually involves no more than four dental visits. If you need to have dental surgery, make sure that you let your dentist know if there is a chance you might be pregnant. Your doctor will need to know that so that they can use the medications during the surgery that will be safe on the chance that you are pregnant.
Concerns about mercury and its effects on human fertility have led some women to wonder whether silver amalgam fillings have a negative effect on their fertility. These fillings have a small amount of the toxic metal, but it is enough to cause a problem. According to the American Dental Association, the amount of mercury is so small that it is not something to be concerned about. However, there have been an alarming surge of cases and news reports of amalgam causing numerous health issues.
While oral hygiene seems like a small matter, it can have a major impact on your overall health and your reproductive health. Keeping a clean and healthy mouth can increase your chances of fertility and decrease any possibility of harmful effects to the development of your baby.
Caring for Your Teeth
To keep your teeth as clean and healthy as possible, brush them twice per day in the morning and before bed. Use a high quality toothbrush and make sure that you reach all of the nooks and crannies, including the backs of the teeth.
Also, brushing your tongue will help to remove bacteria that gathers there. Also, don’t forget to floss as this is a very effective way to remove bits of food and plaque that are stuck between your teeth and cannot be reached with a brush.
Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, has shown to starve and eliminate cavity-causing bacteria (called Streptococcus Mutans), thus reducing the rate of cavities and gum disease over time. Researchers have also found that babies will not suffer from dental cavities in theory. However, like how germs spread naturally, babies get infected by their mom. You can learn more at Alice Barnes’ Dentist Be Damned program here.
If you have any symptoms of gum disease, have your teeth looked at by a dentist before you try to conceive a baby.
- National Dental Centre Singapore. Periodontal Disease. https://www.ndcs.com.sg/forpatientsandvisitors/ConditionsAndTreatments/Glossary/Pages/Periodontal(Gum)Disease.aspx (Accessed May 2016) ↩
- American Academy of Periodontology. Types of Gum Disease. https://www.perio.org/consumer/types-gum-disease.html (Accessed May 2016) ↩