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What Do Teeth Have to Do with Fertility?

Typically, we think of our teeth as a separate entity from our overall health. However, research is finding that oral health is more important than we might think and is often a window to other health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

But what about oral health and fertility? What's the link? First of all, if you are pregnant, gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight in babies. And if you're trying to get pregnant, researchers have found that gum disease delays the time to conception.

Gum disease includes gingivitis and periodontitis. Both are chronic bacterial infections that affect the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Gingivitis is the milder form that causes the gums to become red, swollen and bleed easily. Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis, a condition in which toxins produced by bacteria in plaque irritate the gums and stimulate a chronic inflammatory response. The body basically turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed.

This inflammation is what researchers believe affects fertility. Unchecked, the inflammation can set off a chain of reactions capable of damaging the body's normal workings. So, take care of your teeth!

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