Severe Gum Pain Linked with Impotency

A new research suggests that brushing and flossing regularly could have an impact on a man’s sex life.

This is because a recent Turkish study has found that men in their 30s who had severe periodontal disease were more than three times more likely to suffer from erection problems than those with healthy gums.

Fatih Oguz, lead study author and assistant professor, Department of Urology, School of Medicine, Inonu University in Malatya, Turkey, showed that 53 per cent of those with erectile dysfunction problems had inflamed gums, as compared with 23 per cent of those without signs of gum disease.

The potential link between dental problems and sexual showpiece is vascular health. Erections are created when the brain senses sexual stimulation; causing the muscles in the penis to relax and increasing blood flow into the organ’s flexible tissue. The veins are then shut off to keep blood from flowing out of the area.

The study was based on the evidence that because gum diseases reduce the elasticity of the endothelial lining of blood vessels, it may also be linked to erectile dysfunction.

“We know that periodontal diseases cause systemic endothelial dysfunction, which leads to vascular pathology. And vascular pathologies are the most common cause of erectile dysfunction,” Oguz said.

According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention previous studies have shown a correlation between chronic periodontitis gum disease and systemic vascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and premature births.

“Erectile dysfunction and chronic periodontitis in humans are caused by similar risk factors, such as aging, smoking, diabetes mellitus and coronary artery disease,” Oguz explained.

To arrive at their conclusions, researchers compared 80 men with erectile dysfunction to 82 men without the problem. All were between 30 and 40 years old.

All the patients undertook a periodontal exam by a periodontist who had no knowledge of whether any patient had an erectile dysfunction problem. The researchers found that chronic periodontitis is present more often in patients with erectile dysfunction than in those without the problem.

Some experts questioned the study results. “Periodontal disease might be associated with other underlying disease, but erectile dysfunction? I would strongly disagree; it’s not a causative condition. But I would say that the study results implore us to consider that diseases of the mouth are something to consider when we assess the overall health of the body,” says Bruce Gilbert, a professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, Lake Success, New York.

Nancy Newhouse, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, who agreed with the study, said it makes an important contribution because it shows how diseases of the mouth can affect the rest of the body. “Our medical colleagues don’t spend much time dealing with the oral cavity. The mouth is connected,” she said.

Newhouse said people with evidence of periodontal disease, a treatable chronic condition should be wondering about their general health. “If your gums bleed, you’re really not healthy.”

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