According to a new study, a common periodontal pathogen may delay conception in young women. This finding is novel: previous studies have shown that periodontal diseases may be a risk for general health, but no data on the influence of periodontal bacteria on conception or becoming pregnant have been available.
256 healthy non-pregnant women (mean age 29.2 years, range 19 to 42) who had discontinued contraception in order to become pregnant were followed to establish whether they did or did not become pregnant during the observation period of 12 months.
Porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacterium associated with periodontal diseases, was significantly more frequently detected in the saliva among women who did not become pregnant during the one-year follow-up period than among those who did. The levels of salivary and serum antibodies against this pathogen were also significantly higher in women who did not become pregnant.
Statistical analysis showed that 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 P. gingivalis in the saliva and higher saliva or serum antibody concentrations against this bacterium had a 3-fold hazard for not becoming pregnant compared to their counterparts. Increased hazard was nearly to 4-fold if more than one of these qualities and clinical signs of periodontitis were present.
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