If we want to increase the chances of falling pregnant and produce a child that is as healthy as possible, it makes sense that both the male and female are as healthy as can be. So, this begs the question: can fertility in men be affected by poor oral health?
The answer is a definitive YES, says Dr. Lewis Ehrlich of Sydney Holistic Dental Centre. This may come as a shock to many of us, as the mouth is so often seen in isolation from the rest of the body. However, as time passes we are seeing so many connections between the way that your oral health affects your general health.
Let’s take gum disease to illustrate this point. Gum disease, which is one the most common diseases worldwide, is linked to conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer (just to name a few). The common denominator in all of these health conditions is chronic inflammation. This is extremely harmful to our health, and it turns out our gums (if we are not looking after them) are one of the most common sites for chronic inflammation in the body. Downscaling inflammation must be one of the goals if we are talking about fertility and avoiding difficulties with conception.
A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology has shown that high levels of plaque and bleeding gums are a risk factor for poor sperm motility (their ability to swim), and a reduced sperm count. To make matters even worse for our manhood, a recent study in the Journal Of Human Reporductive Science has shown a clear correlation between chronic gum disease and erectile dysfunction.
"Evidence indicated a positive link in CP [chronic periodontitis] and ED [erectile dysfunction]," said the findings. "It was also suggested that CP should be considered risk factors for ED and treatment of CP might be helpful in the improvement of ED. The importance of oral health should be given by dentist and physician as a preventive medicine for not only ED but also for more serious systemic diseases in the best interest of patient health."
When it comes to dental health and its influence over males fertility and genital health, the good news is that we are largely in control of these potential problems. Follow these guidelines from Dr. Ehrlich and fend off any potential problems (you can thank us later):
- Brush twice a day for 2 minutes
- Floss 1-2 times per day making sure you get the floss underneath the gums
- Practice oil pulling first thing in the morning – ideally for 15 minutes
- Avoid inflammatory refined/processed carbohydrates
- Eat foods daily that are seasonal, local, organic and high in omega-3s, vitamin C, D, antioxidants and fibre
- Visit your dental professional for check-ups and cleans at least every 6 months