As slogans go, the BBC News’s “Floss for Fertility” was definitely the catchiest. It was certainly more pleasing to the ear than alternatives such as “Brush Regularly to Get Pregnant” (as appeared in the Times of India) or “Women Who Want to Get Pregnant Need to Clean Their Teeth” (from the Daily Mirror). These toothy sound-bites featured in news stories published over the last few days, and refer to research presented at a major international conference on human reproduction that took place this week in Stockholm. The researchers reported a link between periodontal (i.e., gum) disease and pregnancy outcomes, which they derived from a large-scale study of over 3,400 Australian women. We already know that the inflammation caused by gum disease can create tissue-damaging events capable of passing into the circulation and contributing to conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. The Australian team now suggest that such effects might also lead to a negative influence on fertility.
So, is it true that minding your choppers will affect your likelihood of conception? Well, maybe yes. But not perhaps in quite the way that this week’s media reports might have you believe. Continue reading “Floss for fertility? Really?”