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Periodontal infection could affect infertility treatments

Women undergoing infertility treatment may have more incentive to prevent gum disease.

For one, a recent study shows that women going through ovulation induction for more than three menstrual cycles experience higher gingival inflammation, bleeding and gingival crevicular fluid—a fluid that contains enzymes and tissue breakdown products that have been examined as potential markers for the progression of periodontitis.

"These effects are presumably correlated with the increased levels of progesterone and estrogen," said Dr. Cenk M. Haytac of Cukurova University in Turkey.

Women undergoing infertility treatment, Dr. Haytac explained, are often given drugs to stimulate the ovaries to produce as many healthy follicles as possible to increase the chances of conception.

"Gingiva is a target tissue for estrogen since it contains specific high-affinity estrogen receptors," said Dr. Haytac.

What's more, studies show that presence of infection is associated with unsuccessful embryo development and implantation failure in "in vitro" fertilization patients. As a chronic bacterial infection, periodontal disease may affect reproduction success and the outcome of infertility treatment.

"It 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 for infertility treatment," said Dr. Michael P. Rethman of the American Academy of Periodontology. "This would require meticulous oral hygiene and routine professional cleanings, perhaps at the beginning of each menstrual cycle to ensure the presence of healthy gums."

Periodontal diseases are risk factors for several systemic conditions including preterm, low birth-weight babies. “It will be interesting to see if further intervention studies will determine the effects of periodontal status and the periodontal therapy on the outcome of infertility treatment,” said Dr. Rethman.

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

10/10/2005

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