When it comes to fertility, especially during pregnancy, our minds tend to focus on what to eat, how to prepare for the birth, what supplies and outlets are there to help care for the newborn, which hospital or facility to use, and pretty much everything under the sun, moon, and stars. However, one of the most neglected facts on maintaining our fertility actually comes from our oral care.
Say What Now?
It is very easy to forget that during our fertility and pregnancy cycle, our hormones tend to fluctuate a lot which could not only have an impact on our moods and physical aptitude but also our teeth. One study linked pregnancy gingivitis to higher levels of progesterone and estrogen (Soory, M, 2000). Periodontitis – irreversible gum damage – “is associated with preterm birth and low birth weight” (Silk, Douglass, Douglass, Silk, 2008). A recent study found a risk factor for preterm birth was tied with gingival inflammation along with other poor oral hygiene behaviors in pregnant women (Erchick, Khatry, Agrawal, Katz, LeClerq, Rai, Reynolds, & Mullany, 2019).
It is not just the pregnant women who’s oral care can affect their fertility – men’s poor oral care can also be the culprit. Poor sperm quality has been shown in numerous studies to be correlated with poor oral health (Kellesarian, Yunker, Malmstrom, Almas, Romanos, & Javed, 2018).
Ways To Treat
One of the simpler ways of treating oral hygiene is having knowledge of it. Please continue to follow your dental hygienist’s guidelines on how to best care for your teeth. Most studies observed that lack of knowledge is what resulted in pregnant women not knowing proper oral care that resulted in pregnancy complications such as gum diseases which could be passed on to their newborn.
If you do have a predisposition to gum disease, acupuncture may be of service to you. By helping balance out the hormones via acupoints, your body will be able to decrease hormones like cortisol and estrogen which in abundance is a risk factor for oral problems and fertility issues. Acupuncture can also help treat other dental procedures such as temporomandibular joint disorders, chronic oral-facial, myofascial pain syndromes, prominent gag reflex, and dental anxiety (FDI General Assembly, 2002). Speak with an acupuncturist today and discuss how acupuncture can work best for you!
Erchick, D.J, Khatry, S.K, Agrawal, N.K, Katz, J., LeClerq, S.C., Rai, B., Reynolds, M.A., Mullany, L.C. (2020). Risk of preterm birth associated with maternal gingival inflammation and oral hygiene behaviours in rural Nepal: a community-based, prospective cohort study. BMJ Open.
Kellesarian, S. V., Yunker, M., Malmstrom, H., Almas, K., Romanos, G. E., & Javed, F. (2018). Male Infertility and Dental Health Status: A Systematic Review. American journal of men’s health, 12(6), 1976–1984. https://doi.org/10.1177/1557988316655529
Silk H., Douglass A.B., Douglass J.M., Silk L. (2008). Oral health during pregnancy. Am Fam Physician. 77:1139–1144.
Soory, M. (2000). Hormonal factors in periodontal disease. Dent Update. 27:380–383