Gum Disease Linked to Erectile Dysfunction
Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. And while it’s widely acknowledged that gum disease can make your smile appear less than stunning, new research suggests that poor oral health may turn off potential dates for another reason. According to a recent study involving patients in Turkey, gum disease has been linked to erectile dysfunction.
Researchers at Innou University of Turkey found that men in their 30s who suffered from erectile dysfunction were three times as likely to have periodontitis as their peers without ED. The relationship held even after the researchers accounted for factors such as body mass index, salary and education. Men who smoked cigarettes were not included in the study. Previous research in India, Israel and Taiwan displayed similar findings.
“We already know that gum disease can have a severe impact on your overall health, contributing to the development of heart disease and diabetes along with a number of other conditions,” said Dr. Alexandre Aalam, a board-certified periodontist at the CENTER for Advanced Periodontal & Implant Therapy in Brentwood. “While more research is needed to clarify the relationship between gum disease and erectile dysfunction, it’s not surprising that the two would be linked.”
Despite the lack of a clear causal relationship at this time, researchers found preliminary evidence that treating gum disease has a positive effect on erectile dysfunction. Of 120 patients who displayed both moderate to severe erectile dysfunction and gum disease, half were given treatment for their periodontitis while the other half were not treated. The participants then filled out questionnaires about their sexual health. After three months, patients who received treatment were more likely to report an improvement in erectile function than those who were not treated.
“At this time, it’s unclear whether periodontitis is causing the erectile dysfunction or if another factor is responsible for the presence of both gum disease and the ED in these patients,” said Dr. Alina Krivitsky, who specializes in the treatment of periodontal disease. “However, we’ve known for a long time that gum inflammation is dangerous to overall health.”
Periodontitis or gum disease is caused by untreated gingivitis, which occurs when plaque spreads below the gum line. The toxins in the plaque inflame the gums, which may become infected and separate from the teeth. Over time, periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose, and patients may need to have them removed. Additionally, research suggests that gum disease and inflammation can have a serious effect on overall health and wellness, leading to a number of serious medical conditions including heart disease and diabetes. Although the link remains unclear, further research may help clarify the relationship between periodontitis and erectile dysfunction.
If you’re concerned about gum disease, you may want to take the Gum Disease Risk Quiz to determine whether you are at risk for this harmful condition. To learn more about options for treating gum disease and inflammation, feel free to contact Dr. Aalam and Dr. Krivitsky for a consultation by calling (310) 299-8329. Drs. Aalam and Krivitsky look forward to seeing you in their Brentwood office.
Next, learn why it’s important for an experienced periodontist to place your dental implants.