gum disease

Gum Disease And Fertility – What You Need To Know

gum diseaseAre you trying to conceive and wondering how your dental health may impact your fertility? Perhaps you’re experiencing infertility difficulties and wondering if gum disease could be involved. Whatever the reason, read on for more information from Dr. Amanda Tavolularis of Dentably.

We know that proper dental hygiene is vital for overall health. However, for couples considering conceiving, it’s very important to be aware of the impact of dental health and fertility. There are many variables when it comes to conception, but having optimal health in as many areas as possible might increase your odds of healthy conception and a healthy pregnancy.

How Gum Disease Affects Fertility For You And Your Partner

Bringing a new life into this world is a beautiful thing, and while you and your partner have taken the necessary steps to prepare, there is one thing that’s often overlooked when couples are trying to conceive. Dental care.

You and your partner’s dental health can play a big role in fertility, especially if you are suffering from gum disease.

I have been practicing dentistry for more than 20 years and have helped many couples with their dental health so that they can be as healthy as possible for conceiving a child. Here’s how gum disease can affect your fertility and steps to take in preventing the condition.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, is a bacterial infection in your mouth that causes inflamed gums.

Early symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling, and
  • Bleeding during brushing.

If left untreated, symptoms can become more severe and cause receding gums or loose teeth.

Gingivitis is caused most often by poor oral hygiene habits, but other factors can cause the disease as well. This includes medication, illness, and hormone changes.

The condition can have an effect on you and your partner’s chances of conceiving. If you think you may have gum disease, it’s important to visit your dentist as soon as possible to discuss treatment plans.

How Does Gum Disease Impact Fertility?

You may be wondering how gum disease affects your fertility while trying to conceive . Women who suffer from gum disease may take up to seven months or more to conceive. Women who don’t have the disease conceive in about five months.

This goes for men as well. Men with poor oral health are more likely to face male factor infertility due to the elevated levels of bacteria in the mouth.

If you and your partner are trying to conceive, ask your dentist to review your gum health. You will want you and your partner’s mouths to be as healthy as possible, so it doesn’t affect your fertility. This may give you a better chance of conceiving.

What Preventative Measures Reduce the risk of Gingivitis?

Working towards preventing gum disease is the best way to keep your mouth healthy so it doesn’t affect your chances of conceiving.

Continue practicing a good dental care routine that includes:

  • Brushing twice a day
  • Flossing once a day
  • Rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash.

Other ways to help prevent the disease include:

  • Reducing stress
  • Maintaining a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins
  • Avoiding grinding your teeth – and getting preventative care if you struggle with nighttime grinding

Even if you do take the proper measures to help prevent gum disease, you still may be susceptible to the disease. If so, your dentist or periodontist may recommend more frequent check-ups, cleanings, and treatments to better manage the condition.

Trying To Conceive And Gum Disease

When you and your partner decide that you want to grow your family, it’s a really special time. However, there are outside factors that you may not be considering that are affecting your fertility.

One of those factors is your oral health and gum disease. If you or your partner suffers from gingivitis, it can take you longer to conceive. Working to prevent the disease and seeking treatment will put you on the path towards conceiving quicker so you can bring a new life into this world.

If you’re trying to conceive, be sure to read Trying To Conceive – How Long Does It Take? to learn more

Trying To Conceive – How Long Does It Take?

Wondering how long it takes to get pregnant?

Has trying to conceive taken longer than expected?

Many women spend years utilizing birth control to prevent a pregnancy. After being diligent, it’s easy to assume that stopping birth control will quickly lead to pregnancy.

Conceiving within six to twelve months is an expectation many couples have. While some conceive within just a cycle to a few, some take closer to twelves months or more. Taking twelve months to conceive can be within the realm of typical fertility.

Without any fertility issues, most women have about a 25% chance of conceiving each cycle.

When it takes longer than six months, many couples begin looking into why they haven’t conceived yet.

Why Is It Taking Longer Than 6 Months To Get Pregnant?

After six months of sex without birth control, many begin charting and pinpointing their most fertile days in hopes of conceiving. As cycles pass and there’s not a positive test in sight many feelings can creep in.

There are many reasons it can take longer than six to twelve months to conceive, including:

  • Missing the fertile window
  • Reproductive health issues such as endometriosis, PCOS and complications from previous infections
  • Male factor infertility
  • Age related decline in fertility
  • Genetic conditions
  • Thyroid and other hormonal issues

While there are many reasons for struggling to conceive, it can sometimes take a while to pinpoint the cause for each couple struggling.

Coping When Trying To Conceive Takes Longer Than Expected

Many women report feeling they were alone in their struggles, but the reality is conception struggles happen, they are just not always talked about.

Some couples choose to go with the flow and trust they will have children if and when it is meant to be. For others though (and likely the majority), it can become an isolating and concerning time.

Our culture is mostly beyond the obvious stigmas for infertility but many still feel an inexplicable level of value in our ability to conceive and bear children. For this reason we might feel embarrassed to discuss difficulty conceiving.

We fear people’s judgments, we fear awkward conversations and we fear the unsolicited advice. Comments like, “just take a vacation,” feel hurtful but also leave a feeling that we somehow caused the delay in conceiving with our own stress.

These fears cause a cycle of not opening up and therefor continuing to feel alone in this struggle. Please know that your fertility status is not in anyway a reflection of your value.

Having adequate support during and after the struggle to conceive can relieve some of the stress and isolation that often accompanies fertility struggles.

Though support may not end fertility struggles, sometimes knowing you are not alone and that what you are experiencing is common takes a little pressure off. With today’s technology we can reach out to others online when we are not able to open up in person. We have the ability to maintain a level of anonymity and seek support despite our fears.

Whether you found support, are seeking support or you still feel lonely, please know that you are not alone in your experiences with conception. In addition to online peer support, many find professional support invaluable as they process this difficult time.

Perhaps you have not experienced infertility (defined by not conceiving within twelves months, or experiencing three or more miscarriages), are not quite at the twelve or even sixth cycle of trying to conceive but the journey of conception took you by surprise. Support can still be vital regardless of how long you’ve been trying.

If secondary infertility is your struggle you might feel guilty being upset because you already have at least one child, but your struggles and disappointment are valid. You might feel guilty about impatience knowing others wait longer, but know that your feelings are valid too. A struggle is a struggle. Some will have bigger struggles and some will have smaller ones, but comparing does not help us through our unexpected times.

If you are currently struggling to conceive, do not hesitate to reach out to a healthcare provider, if you. Even if you opt not to use medical assistance to conceive you can often get answers to many of your questions and concerns. If you are open to assistance, many options exist. As with any provider, search until you find one that will listen to your concerns and one that treats you with respect. Find a provider that is willing to take your concerns seriously and take the time to answer your questions. Many couples also utilize alternative med

Raising Kids During A Remodel

Raising kids is always a challenge. A rewarding challenge, but definitely a challenge.

Are they learning everything they need to learn for school?

Have they picked up proper manners?

Are they kind?

There are never ending worries about their wellbeing. When you are busy trying to remodel a house, work and raise children it is easy to feel like you’re spread incredibly thin. In doing this remodel with four littles I’ve learned that kids are incredibly resilient. They need love, they need guidance and they need security. Though it is hard to provide them with this while remodeling, it is possible… hard, but possible.

Here are 5 tips that have helped me raise kids while dealing with this chaos:

#1: Make the family, not a place, their security. When you can let your little ones know that you, not a place provide the security it can help them feel secure even with sleep changing arrangements. Perhaps this isn’t ideal for all, but I really believe this will help my children become very flexible and secure individuals. Your environment might change often, but your family, your support system, your love is always there.

#2: Let Them Participate In Planning: Even as an adult I struggle with how much I can’t control during a remodel. I imagine for the kids, the lack of control can be confusing. Letting them accompany us to showrooms, share their ideas and keeping them involved in what is happening can help them feel they have a say during a time of some uncertainty.

#3: If It Doesn’t Need To Change, Don’t Change It: Moving can be a time of a lot of adjustment. If you don’t need to change your daytime routine, then try to keep it similar so there’s still a sense of normalcy for them. If you don’t move far, try to keep playdate, sitters, etc. the same.

#4: Extend them grace. When it’s our second month cramped in one bed, and nine months of not having their own play area, tension rises and patience runs out. As an adult all of this can make me short. As kids, they too can lose patience and become frustrated and without the same communication and coping skills it can be very challenging for them. Extending grace when they bicker with their siblings or don’t listen immediately when they have to clean their toys for the fifth time (because you’re all in a small space and toys out means no where to walk…) can go a long way for everyone’s feelings.

#5: Reinforce family values. Every family is unique and their goals for their children will vary. For my family, I hope to instill an eternal focus and not a focus on earthly material things. This seems a bit silly when we’re in the midst of a full remodel, but it really is an important value of mine. I want to reinforce that it’s okay to work hard for a nice home, but having a nice home isn’t going to be what brings us joy. What better time to teach this value than when we’re in the midst of this chaos?

For now, these things are working. Though I guess we’ll have to wait and see how much therapy they need when they are older to really decide if any of this works….

What is an Au Pair?

philadelphia au pairWhat is an au pair? If you answered, “a nanny for rich families,” you would not be alone. This is one of the many common misconceptions people have about au pairs.

In fact, an au pair is a young adult from another country who lives with your family and provides one-on-one live-in child care services in exchange for room and board and a stipend. It is a child care option that is competitively priced with other child care solutions, such as nannies, babysitters and day care centers – with some additional benefits.

Before you rule out an au pair program as a child care option for your family, here is a quick guide that will help you better understand the program.

Myth:  Having an au pair is only for high income families

Fact:  Hosting an au pair is an affordable child care program for many families across the country. At an average weekly cost of $350 per family, not per child, the au pair program is an especially affordable child care alternative for families with multiple children. Because au pairs provide live-in child care and work up to 45 hours per week, you have the ability to customize your au pairs’ work schedule based on when you need child care.

Myth:  Au pairs are not screened or regulated
Fact:  All au pair agencies are regulated by the U.S. Department of State and require that au pairs are thoroughly screened, interviewed, tested on English competency, and undergo a comprehensive criminal, personal and professional background check. In addition, many au pairs agencies require au pairs to have first aid and child development training.

Myth: Au pairs don’t speak English
Fact: While au pairs come from many different countries around the world, all au pairs are required to be proficient in spoken English, as regulated by the U.S. Department of State. Au pair agencies conduct an English competency test for all au pair applicants and interview them in English prior to accepting them into the au pair program. Families also have the opportunity to interview au pairs over the phone or on Skype prior to employment.

Myth: International au pairs are all women
Fact: An au pair is any young adult from another country who exchanges child care services for room and board and a stipend. All government-regulated au pair agencies recruit both male and female au pairs. Au pair agencies want to ensure that families can select an au pair that matches their particular needs, skills and background.

Myth: Au pairs are babysitters that speak another language
Fact: Unlike a babysitter, an au pair provides ongoing child care up to 45 hours per week, according to a family’s needs. Au pairs can also perform light household duties associated with children. For example, they can prepare and clean up after meals, do children’s laundry, make the children’s beds, and organize the children’s playrooms/toys. Having an au pair’s assistance with these day-to-day tasks allows you to spend more quality time with your family. In addition, since au pairs are from another country, they provide children and families with a unique window into another culture, sharing games, stories and songs from their home countries.

Myth: Au Pairs only want to learn English and travel Fact: There are many legal ways for an international person to obtain a visa to the U.S. and travel or learn English. Au pairs are interested in child care and have a love of children. In addition, they have a desire to improve their English, life skills and obtain improved employment opportunities when they return to their home country after the program.

To learn more about hosting an au pair and for a FREE APPLICATION contact your local Area Director, Michele Greenockle, at 267-288-5908 or

Outside The Doula Box: Real Doula Support


Slowly the word doula is becoming a household word. Unfortunately,  the understanding of what doula care really is, is still misunderstood.  Many assume birth doulas only support unmedicated, out of hospital births; and postpartum doulas only help with breastfeeding difficulties or support moms with postpartum depression. While doulas do support families in those circumstances,  we also do so much! Continue reading

Facebook Eyes: Why You Can’t Mom Compare

20150304_135435Facebook has become a wonderful tool for moms to connect with other moms. Connection is wonderful, but we might also begin to see each others’ lives through Facebook eyes – eyes that only see the positive updates and Pinterest worthy pictures. I know I try hard to keep a positive attitude, to not put anyone down and to encourage other moms. In that effort sometimes it seems that life is peachy and that I have it together, but really I am simply trying to post appropriately to my social media accounts. When we see just the Facebook appropriate posts it is easy to compare these tidbits with our reality. When we see our friend’s homemade pancakes our kid’s cereal bar suddenly seems like a breakfast fail. What we fail to compare is that you got your preschooler to school on time while your husband was out of town, the fact that your kid even ate breakfast is a win! Continue reading

Enjoying Your Kids

I spend a lot of time encouraging parents to enjoy their newborns but recently it dawned on me that I need to really enjoy my children at all of their stages. It can be easy to get so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, sports, homework and housework that we forget to actually spend quality time enjoying our children. Here are a few tips for enjoying your children at all ages. Continue reading

Sleep Training, Right or Wrong?

IMG_20150109_132916A question so many parents and experts wonder is, is sleep training right or wrong? The simplest answer, it is neither. Sleep training is such a broad term and can mean so many things. When it comes to the term sleep training, closing the door at 8 pm on your five week old and not opening it until 8 am is often lumped together with gently night weaning your eleven month old. One is not recommending by most experts as a five week old usually needs night feeds and care in order to thrive while the other is unlikely to impact their growth and well being. Continue reading

What Doula Care and Education Mean

instaquote-03-01-2015-17-25-44There is a common misconception that all doulas and independent childbirth educators support only natural birth, midwives, breastfeeding, home births, etc. While I am sure there are doulas and educators that only support those things, I am also sure they are often the exception and not the rule. As a doula and educator I support knowing your options, making informed decisions and most importantly following your intuition. In my training and education I was taught to support women and their families throughout their maternity journey, not to judge or make decisions for them. Continue reading

The Holidays With Little Ones

xmastreelexThe holidays are a time of cheer, family time and….fussy babies? Our Decembers are often filled with errands, visitors, stress and travel – all things that can make for overtired and overstimulated babies. While we do need to slow down when we have children it is still possible to have a full holiday season and happy babies. Here are a few tips for enjoying the holiday season with children: Continue reading