Couples trying to conceive sometimes read literature on how to increase their chances on having a successful pregnancy. When someone first hears that brushing and flossing their teeth can affect their ability to conceive, it first sounds like a joke. It suggests that maybe a person with a clean mouth will have more opportunities to conceive a baby. However, studies show that brushing and flossing teeth can affect the likelihood of pregnancy due to health reasons.
The University of Western Australia did a study about the connection between good oral hygiene and conceiving. The results were revealed in Stockholm at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. They found that oral hygiene could increase the chances of pregnancy.
They studied 2000 women, and those with good oral hygiene were able to reduce their conceiving time by an average of 2 months. While some might argue that having bad oral hygiene is actually an indication of bad health, the researchers found that the bacteria in the mouth can actually prevent a pregnancy.
Roger Hart was the lead researcher at the University of Western Australia.Professor Hart says, “It exerts a negative influence on fertility that is of the same order of magnitude as obesity.”
The bacteria within the mouth can actually leak into the blood stream and lead to inflammation in the lining of the womb. Hart says that the inflammation can possibly “affect implantation of the embryo.” The bacteria can also lead to other complications, like stillbirths and miscarriages.
Gum Sensitivity When Trying to Conceive
Studies show that women receiving infertility treatments also have a heightened sensitivity in their gums, making good oral hygiene an important task.
The University of Turkey did a study on 79 women. Dr. Haytac, the lead researcher, examined the oral hygiene of the women. All 79 women were receiving a form of infertility treatment. He also examined 20 women that were not receiving any treatment.
Dr. Haytac found that when women received infertility treatment for at least 3 menstrual cycles had a heightened level of bleeding in their gums and overall sensitivity.
Dr. Haytac says, “There seems to be a direct correlation between the rise in the levels of progesterone and estrogen and the level of gingival inflammation.” Since studies indicate that good oral hygiene can affect the ability to conceive, women receiving hormone treatments should especially take care of their oral hygiene.
Getting Good Oral Hygiene
Dr. Hart of the University of Western Australia asks women trying to conceive, “Do your gums bleed regularly after you have brushed your teeth? Or if you clench your teeth, does your jaw ache?”
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then there is a strong likelihood that you have a form of gum disease and you should seek treatment.
Dr. Michael P. Rethman of Honolulu Hawaii gives his recommendations for keeping better oral hygiene. He suggests using powered toothbrushes over the traditional manual toothbrushes. More expensive models are helpful, but even less expensive ones will be able to do a better job. He also recommends flossing daily, and not using mouth wash as a substitute for flossing.
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