Trying to get pregnant? Look after your gums!

New research published in June has found that gum bacteria may delay conception in young women.

The dentists and hygiene team at the Smile Centre in Liskeard have known for many years that gum bacteria are connected to other diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, bacterial lung infections, strokes, premature births and rheumatoid arthritis.

Now, the research* carried out at the University of Helsinki on 256 healthy women aged between 19 to 42, found that porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacterium associated with periodontal (gum) diseases, was significantly more frequently detected in the saliva among women who did not become pregnant during the one-year follow-up period than among those who did.

The levels of salivary and serum antibodies against this pathogen were also significantly higher in women who did not become pregnant.

Statistical analysis showed that the finding was independent of other risk factors contributing to conception, such as age, current smoking, socioeconomic status, bacterial vaginosis, previous deliveries, or clinical periodontal disease.

Take care of your dental health

“Young women are encouraged to take care of their oral health and maintain good oral hygiene when they are planning pregnancy,” suggests Dr. Susanna Paju, DDS, PhD, periodontal specialist at the University of Helsinki.

“Infertility is a major concern, and increasing healthcare resources are needed for infertility treatments. More attention should be paid to the potential effects of common periodontal diseases on general health.”

Never ignore the symptoms of gum disease

Symptoms of gum disease include red swollen gums, bleeding when brushing, bad breath, receding gums and loose or drifting teeth.

If you live in or around Cornwall and Plymouth and have any concerns about your dental health please contact the Smile Centre in Church Street. Our fully qualified hygiene therapists would be only too happy to help provide hygiene care and advice.

* The study was carried out at the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases at the University of Helsinki, in co-operation with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Helsinki University Hospital, Finland. Results were published in the June 2017 issue of the Journal of Oral Microbiology.