Through a latest study by a group of researchers, it is found that pregnancy can be delayed by a common bacterium associated with gum disease or periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, an inflammatory reaction to a bacterial infection below the gum line, causes the gums to become red, swollen. The research has been published in the Journal of Oral Microbiology. This leads to bleeding of the gums. This can cause delay in the birth of the child. Susanna Paju, a researcher from University of Helsinki in Finland said, “Our results encourage young women of fertile age to take care of their oral health and attend periodontal evaluations regularly".
The study consisted of 256 healthy non-pregnant women from Southern Finland who had discontinued contraception to become pregnant. The participants of the study were asked whether they did or did not want to become pregnant during the observation period of 12 months.
From the result of one-year follow-up period, the researchers found significantly higher levels of porphyromonas gingivalis. This is a bacterium associated with periodontal diseases, in the saliva of women who did not become pregnant than among those who did become pregnant. The levels of salivary and serum antibodies against this pathogen were also significantly higher in women who did not become pregnant.
According to the Statistical analysis, the finding was independent of other risk factors contributing to conception, such as age, current smoking, socioeconomic status, bacterial vaginosis, previous deliveries, or clinical periodontal disease. Women who had this bacteria in the saliva and higher saliva or serum antibody concentrations against this bacterium had three times more difficulty getting pregnant compared to their counterparts. Increased hazard was nearly four-fold if more than one of these qualities and clinical signs of periodontitis were present.
"Our study does not answer the question on possible reasons for infertility but it shows that periodontal bacteria may have a systemic effect even in lower amounts, and even before clear clinical signs of gum disease can be seen," Paju said. She concluded that young women are encouraged to take care of their oral health and maintain good oral hygiene when they are planning pregnancy. Paju further said, "More studies are needed to explain the mechanisms behind this association."