How Gum Disease Can Affect Your Fertility by Dr. Amanda Tavoularis - Taslie's Skin Care Ltd.

Planning to conceive is a big step for you and your partner, and one where many pieces need to come together. While many couples focus on different things to help their fertility, one thing they may neglect is their dental health. What they fail to realize is how much of an affect your oral health can play on your ability to conceive. I’ve been a practicing dentist for the past 20 years, and today I want to look at the role of oral health in fertility, and what steps you can take to make sure it doesn’t affect you or your partner’s fertility.

What Is Gum Disease and How Does It Affect Fertility?

Put simply, gum disease is exactly as it sounds, a disease that attacks your gums. It’s caused by bacteria, and generally the product of poor oral hygiene. Bad dental habits isn’t the only cause though, things such as genetics, aggressive brushing, and raised hormone levels all increase the risk of developing the disease. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the risks as even someone with great oral hygiene could develop the disease from other risk factors.

In terms of fertility problems there can be issues for both partners. Couples that have gum disease were shown to take on average seven months to conceive, while those without only took five. This is a significant increase in time, and as noted can be caused by either partner. If you’re planning to conceive, it’s a good idea for both partners to get a review of their dental health to give the best shot at doing so. 

How Can My Partner and I Prevent Gum Disease

Luckily, preventing gum disease is not difficult. In fact, many of the things you’re probably already doing are exactly what it takes to prevent gum disease. 

First off, you want to make sure that you’re taking care of your mouth at home. This means brushing twice a day, flossing once, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash once a day. Each of these will protect your mouth in a different way, and help remove any bacteria that could cause you problems. 

Next, you’ll want to make sure that you limit the amount of sugar in your diet. Sugar is the main food source of bacteria, so you want to deprive it of this valuable resource. Some sugar is okay, but take everything in moderation. A balanced diet is key to both a healthy mouth and body. 

You both also want to visit the dentist regularly. They will provide a deep clean of your teeth, and be able to point out any trouble areas. They’ll also be able to diagnose any issues you might have developed. This is important as there are many risk factors for gum disease, so even with good home care, you still may be at risk. 

Thankfully, when caught early treatment is pretty simple and many of the negative effects can be avoided. You will not want to delay though if procedures are recommended by your dentist, as the longer you wait the worse the disease can get.

Another big question I’m often asked is if X-rays are safe when trying to conceive and if they have any negative effect on your fertility. The truth is that dental X-rays are safe for those looking to conceive. While the X-rays do use radiation, the dose of radiation in a typical medical X-ray is so low that it doesn’t pose a threat to your reproductive health.

While important, hopefully you see how easy it can be to take care of your mouth. Don’t let bad oral health stop you from conceiving, take the steps today to set a foundation for a healthy mouth.

Dr. Amanda Tavoularis has been committed to excellent dentistry for over 20 years. She studied at the University of Washington School of Dentistry and has gone on to complete over 200 hours of study at the prestigious Kois Center located in Seattle. She belongs to numerous dentistry networks include the American Dental Association and the Wellness Dentistry Network. With being a female dentist on the Dentably team, Dr. Amanda can provide her expertise for dental care for women as well as expecting mothers. She has a son of her own and is committed to providing the most accurate information possible for patients.