Fertility problems and premature birth - when periodontitis stands in the way of having children

In Germany alone, there are up to 48,000 premature births every year. However, the cause is not always a maldevelopment of the child. Bacterial vaginal infections, anaemia, cervical weaknesses or disorders of the placenta or uterus can also trigger a birth before the 37th week of pregnancy.

Although medical progress has increased the survival rate of premature babies, they do not always remain without consequential damage. As the internal organs are usually not yet fully developed, problems with breathing, metabolism and the immune system can occur. Late effects such as autism, attention deficit disorder or asthmatic diseases are also common in premature babies. Premature birth conceivable. The mother is just as at risk. Greek doctors and psychologists came to a clear conclusion in a comprehensive scientific study on the subject of "premature birth": mothers who give birth to their children too early are more susceptible to mental illness.

Premature birth - periodontitis as a risk factor

Infections, uterine tumors and anemia have long been known to be risk factors for premature births. However, Periodontitis is also often discussed. Periodontologists from the University of Cologne have confirmed the suspicion that the risk of periodontitis in pregnant women with chronically inflamed gums is up to seven times higher than in pregnant women with healthy gums. US researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have come to similar conclusions: While only 7.2 percent of periodontally healthy women gave birth to their child before the 35th week of pregnancy, the figure rose to 23.4 percent for periodontitis patients.

Based on medical findings, the popular saying "every child costs a tooth" can no longer be dismissed as a myth. Hormonal changes during pregnancy weaken the immune system in the mouth, increasing the risk of periodontitis. Periodontitis bacteria accumulate in the gum pockets, leaving behind chronic inflammation and spreading to the surrounding gums.

Fertility problems and periodontitis - when the cause lies in the mouth

Fertility cannot be taken for granted. In Germany alone, around 1,400,000 people suffer from fertility problems .In every 5th to 7th German couple, the desire to have children remains unfulfilled. It is not uncommon for the cause of fertility problems to lie in the oral cavity. An observational study on the subject of "fertility disorders" investigated the duration until natural conception in 3,500 pregnant women with and without periodontitis. Patients with periodontitis took up to 7.1 months to conceive, while patients without periodontitis took only 5 months.

Fertility disorders have also been diagnosed in men with periodontal disease. The oral bacteria impaired the function of the sperm and could therefore be behind a fertility disorder. It is not for nothing that study author Roger Hart recommends that couples who wish to have children should have their oral health checked regularly.