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Francesco Saverio Ludovichetti, Anna Giulia Signoriello, Edoardo Alvise Gobbato, Anna Artuso, Edoardo Stellini, and Sergio Mazzoleni

Today periodontal health is considered as an integral part of systemic health itself and no longer as a single factor. The literature recognizes that the presence of periodontal disease can represent a risk factor for numerous systemic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. In recent years, we have witnessed a progressive interest regarding the influence exerted by this condition on reproduction, as well as the possible repercussions on conception possibilities. Upon analyzing a limited number of studies available for the correlation between periodontal disease and female infertility, it could be inferred that this condition can be equated to the presence of a real outbreak of infection and therefore exert its influence, not only through bacterial translocation in the bloodstream, causing the systemic dissemination of pathogens, but also through the production of cytokines and immunoglobulins by inflammatory mediators. This situation limits bacterial growth, but it could cause damage to the fetus, to the reproductive system, and could hinder conception attempts. Although further research is needed to better clarify the mechanism underlying the possible correlation between periodontal disease and female infertility, the present article aims to review all the available literature on this topic.

Lay summary

In recent years, interest regarding the influence of gum disease on conception has increased. Since serious gum disease (periodontitis) can be compared to an outbreak of infection, studies suggest that the bacteria that mediate inflammation do not remain confined only to the gum tissue, but can enter the bloodstream and spread, thus spreading the infection and having a whole-body effect. This situation could cause damage to the developing baby, to the reproductive system and could hinder conception attempts. Constant maintenance of oral health is definitely necessary. It is important for the professionals involved (gynecologists, obstetricians, dentists, etc.) to communicate and collaborate on these issues. Dentists could advise on the correct hygienic maintenance not only to pregnant women, but also to those who are planning a pregnancy in order to avoid the occurrence of unfavorable conditions.