It's not often that you think of pregnancy and dental health in the same sentence, but the latest research indicates a connection - actually multiple connections between poor dental health, particularly gingivitis and periodontal disease, and increased conception time as well as risk of premature births.
The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology recently released study findings that indicate a connection between gum disease and increased time needed to conceive. Women with gum disease, who participated in the study, took longer to get pregnant than those participants with no gum disease. The average conception time for those without gingivitis/periodontal disease was five months compared to an average seven months for those suffering from gum disease.
Another study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology revealed that pregnant women being treated for periodontal disease who used mouthwash (alcohol-free antimicrobial rinse) twice daily showed a decreased rate of premature delivery. In the study, premature births were more prevalent in those whose periodontal disease was left untreated.
Though neither study sought the reason, the theory set forth in each study is that inflammation as a result of gum disease is the cause for both the premature births as well as the increased time for pregnancy to occur.
Proper dental hygiene and periodontal care are important. In light of these findings, it is crucial to remember that the best way to prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease is appropriate care, including brushing, flossing and rinsing, followed by routine visits to our office.