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.

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Top Ways to Prevent GUM DISEASE:

  • Proper brushing and flossing

  • Using antibacterial toothpaste and mouthwash to kill bacteria

  • Biannual dental visits for cleanings and checkups