So, today, I came across this article. It briefly outlines new research that suggests that gum disease and poor oral hygiene can lead to delayed conception. On average, women who didn't brush and floss regularly took 2 months longer to get pregnant than those who took proper care of their pearly whites. And that's about all that article said.
A quick Google search turned up a press release. Seems poor oral health has the same magnitude of effect on getting pregnant as obesity. The effects of periodontal disease on conception are especially significant in the non-Caucasian population. The reason has something to do with the body's inflammatory response.
The Australian study confirmed many known risk factors for difficulty in conceiving (smoking, obesity and being over 35), but found that there was no correlation between socioeconomic status (SES) and fertility. I find this surprising, as those of a lower SES tend to have restricted access to dental care (nearly 500 000 working poor in Ontario don't have access to dental care).
The takeaway of all of this? Well, women who want to get pregnant need to make sure they are healthy in all aspects of their lives, including their teeth (and of course, quit smoking, lose weight etc....).
I'm at the point in my life where many friends are starting to have kids, and others are realising that the process isn't always so simple. Others, still, are waiting until they are in their 30s to even begin thinking about starting a family. Now, with yet another factor to add to the list of reasons women have difficulty conceiving, it worries me that friends are waiting so long to even start trying. As many as 1 in 7 Canadian couples are infertile, and many more, while not necessarily infertile, will have difficulty getting pregnant, or carrying to term. At least now they will know to make sure they take care of their oral health before trying to conceive (as an aside, it seems to me that women who wait until they are in their 30s to begin a family are more educated and therefore more likely to have good oral hygiene?).
Ok, time to brush my teeth and head to bed ;)
P.S. I want to make the links open in a new tab/window. How do I do that?