By Dr. Mary Hinckley
Did you buy one of those Sonicare toothbrushes? Were you as amazed as I was how long they want you to jiggle your teeth? When I started using the electric toothbrush, it felt like an eternity before the timer went off. The timer is set for the recommended amount of time we should be brushing our teeth, so it came as a surprise that I was not a perfect dental student. (In case you don’t have an electric toothbrush, the pediatric dentists tell kids to sing the Happy Birthday song to know how long to brush”but this can make a mess if they sing it out loud instead of in their heads! )
Recent studies have shown that good dental hygiene can be a key to good fertility.
Gum disease causes couples an average of 2 months longer to conceive. This is similar to the effect obesity has on fertility. It also causes an increase of premature birth, diabetes and other health concerns. The inflammation caused by the bacteria living in the gums can set in motion a series of changes that alter the ability to conceive. Also affects sperm motility.
But amazingly, this can be completely treated by dentists and good dental hygiene. So first, how would you know if you had periodontal disease? Gum bleeding and pain can be serious signs, but most importantly a dental check up can tell you if you have gum disease. The dentist can also recommend the best strategy to prevent the reoccurrence, especially during hormone therapy that can come with fertility treatments.
Hormones can actually increase the susceptibility to gingivitis so extra care should be taken to keep those dental appointments! My friend Paula Roemer, the dentist, recently sent me this YouTube video that may explain it even better¦ click to see.
Dr. Mary Hinckley is a leading Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist at the Reproductive Science Center of the San Francisco Bay Area. She has extensively published articles in peer-reviewed journals on blastocyst transfer, avoiding triplet pregnancies, monozygotic twinning, operative hysteroscopy, correction of uterine anomalies, and biochemical pathways involved in ovulation and fertilization. She serves as a member of the Society for Reproductive Endocrinologists, the Christian Medical and Dental Society and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Her areas of interest include laparoscopic surgery, premature ovarian failure, oocyte freezing, and recurrent pregnancy loss.