According to research presented at the American Academy of Periodontology conference in 2004, gum disease is linked to women who use infertility treatments. The study said women undergoing infertility treatment for more than three menstrual cycles experience increased inflammation and bleeding of the gums. These women also have increased levels of gingival crevicular fluid, which contains tissue breakdown products that may be markers for the progression of gum disease.
The lead author Dr. Cenk M. Haytac, from Cukurova University in Adana, Turkey, postulates that these effects occur because these agents increase body levels of estrogen and the gums apparently are a target for estrogen since they contain estrogen receptors. Though not definitive, several studies have shown evidence that gum infections are associated with unsuccessful embryo development or the failure of in-vitro fertilization. Poor oral health is as bad for fertility as obesity – delaying conception by about two months says latest research.
Experts at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Sweden were presented with evidence how women with gum disease took over seven months to conceive, compared to the usual five months. The researchers believe the underlying cause is inflammation. Unchecked, this can set off a chain of reactions capable of damaging the body’s normal workings.
Periodontal disease has already been linked with heart disease, type 2 diabetes and miscarriage, plus poor sperm quality in men. An Australian study involving over 3,700 women indicated that those with gum disease had raised blood levels of markers for inflammation. Although speculative, as a precaution researchers suggest that the treatment of gum disorders might influence the outcome of infertility treatment. According to Dr. Michael P. Rethman, president of the AAP, “[i]t is reasonable to assume that if low levels of plaque are established and maintained during the infertility treatment, gingival inflammation would not affect the success of infertility treatment,” “[which] would require meticulous oral hygiene and routine professional cleanings, perhaps at the beginning of each menstrual cycle to ensure the presence of healthy gums.”
Professor Roger Hart advises women trying to get pregnant to get a check-up by their dentist along with other measures like stopping smoking and drinking, maintaining a healthy weight and taking folic acid supplements. UK fertility expert Dr. Allan Pacey said, “It’s common sense advice really to make sure you are in a healthy condition [including good oral health] if you want to try for a baby.” Around 10% of the population is believed to have severe periodontal disease.
So if you are trying to get pregnant and are unsure of your oral health please see your dentist.
Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328
 Journal of Periodontology, June 2004
 Ananya Mandal, MD. Gum Disease Linked to Infertility. (2011)
 Professor Roger Hart, of the University of Western Australia.