Periodontal Disease and Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile Dysfunction (ED) – or more commonly referred to as male impotency. Male Impotency is a sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis during sexual activity.
Recent scientific studies have shown that men with advanced periodontal disease (also called periodontitis) are at a higher risk for erectile dysfunction. The same study also says young men under age 30 are at risk as well. The study was based on approximately 33,000 men with erectile dysfunction and then randomly selected another group of men without erectile dysfunction. About 12% of the participants had advanced periodontal disease. This group with advanced periodontal disease included about 27% of the men with erectile dysfunction and about 9% of those without erectile dysfunction issues. The study lasted for five years.
This particular research study found advanced periodontal disease was much higher among the men with erectile dysfunction than those without. After taking into account other lifestyle factors (example, income level and pre existing medical conditions) the researchers found periodontal disease was still linked to erectile dysfunction. This was especially the case in men younger than 30 and those older than 70.
The study did not show or prove that advanced periodontal disease causes erectile dysfunction. But it does show that an association between the two does exist. One theory as to why the link exists is that both are likely caused by inflammatory processes in the body. The Periodontal disease process is directly linked to the inflammatory process in the gum tissues and bone, and has been found to be linked to heart disease,vascular disease (damage to blood vessels), pregnancy issues, and other overall health problems. Researchers believe the same inflammatory process is affecting sexual function. The inflammatory process is systemic (throughout the body) and is thought to be causing damage to the vessels supplying the penis.
While these results are far from set in stone they tell a tale of a link between the inflammatory breakdown in advanced periodontal disease and erectile dysfunction. So this means, it is doubly important for men of all ages and not just the ones mentioned in the study to maintain their dental hygiene to not only maintain their teeth and gums but also to maintain their sexual function. Luckily for us, periodontal disease is very treatable. Periodontitis and advanced periodontitis are very preventable. Brush your teeth, floss and schedule routine dental visits to keep your gums and teeth healthy. While the linkage between periodontal disease and erectile dysfunction requires more research at this very early stage, it would be wise to think of full body health and do all that you can to guard against preventable illness.