At this Jacksonville, Florida dental practice we know that the health of the mouth is a mirror of the health throughout the body. We practice holistic dentistry and do our best to educate our patients on the importance of taking care of their teeth, not only for their oral health but also for the wellness of their entire body. A recent study performed by the University of Helsinki, Finland found that periodontal disease may affect the fertility of young women. This finding is important because along with continuing the research of the far-reaching perils of periodontal disease, it can alert women to the care they must take of their teeth if they hope to become mothers.
Female Hormones and Dental health
We recently published a blog discussing how female hormones cause an increased risk for periodontal disease all throughout her life. Progesterone surging through her body during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause all make a woman’s mouth susceptible to damaging infection. Women need to be particularly careful with their dental health and perform a beneficial oral health routine twice every day to make sure that their teeth remain healthy during every life stage. The development of periodontal disease can cause serious problems such as cardiovascular disease, alzheimers, some forms of cancer, and arthritis. This new study out of Helsinki may have just added decreased fertility to that list.
Periodontal disease creates chronic inflammation in the body of a person. Chronic, low grade inflammation can cause many problems throughout the body by taking all systems and disabling many of them from working at their peak. Every system in the body suffers when it is under a constant attack from pathogens as virile as the bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Researchers were curious about how this bacteria and disease affected a female’s fertility. To learn, they took a sample size of 256 women who were not pregnant and had a median age of 29.2 years of age. The women had all recently discontinued taking oral contraceptives in an effort to become pregnant. They women were administered an oral and genital swab to detect periodontal pathogens, saliva antibodies, and a baseline of bacterial vaginosis – an indicator of fertility. Over the course of a year these study participants reported back to the researchers whether or not they had achieved pregnancy. They found that the women who did not achieve pregnancy had higher levels of Porphyromonas gingivalis – a bacteria that causes periodontal disease- and more antigens against the bacteria in their saliva than women who became pregnant in that year. Although this study did not take into consideration everything that can cause fertility the statistical significance of this finding is important.
Connecting the Dots
Periodontal disease is a serious condition that can cause far-reaching consequences throughout the body. Inflammation in the gingival tissues can have an effect on the effacy of the endocrine system, which is extremely important in all matters of fertility. When this system is disrupted it can result in decreased fertility. This low grade inflammation is a problem for many people but if you are a woman who wants to become pregnant, it is important that you take care of your teeth to prevent the development of periodontal disease. By brushing your teeth for two minutes each day and properly floss once every day. You can keep the bacterial that causes gum disease is kept at bay. Making an appointment with your Jacksonville, Florida dentist twice each year can also help to prevent and treat any oral infection which may have far-reaching consequences on the rest of your body.