Having good oral hygiene is crucial for your overall health. But did you know that it can also help prevent erectile dysfunction (ED)? According to an interesting study, there is a link between gum disease and ED, or impotence, in men.The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology and was conducted by researchers from the Department of Surgery and Surgical Specialties (Urology) and the Department of Stomatology at the University of Granada (UGR) in Spain. This is the first of its kind to be conducted on a European population. According to the study, men with periodontitis are at greater risk of developing erectile dysfunction. Periodontitis is a condition that causes the inflammation of the gums. This gum disease also damages the structures that surround and support your teeth.
The researchers believe that effective tooth-brushing and good dental hygiene can help prevent this type of male sexual impotence.
Gum inflammation and impotence
Erectile dysfunction refers to the inability of a man to achieve an erection. The condition may be caused by physical or psychological factors. Alternatively, ED can be caused by a combination of the two factors.
Periodontitis is characterized by chronic inflammation of the gums. This disease gradually damages the alveolar bone and the connective tissues that anchor the teeth in place. If left untreated, periodontitis can result in tooth loss.
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The researchers noted that periodontal bacteria or inflammatory cytokines from the infected gums cause damage to the vascular endothelial cells. Once this endothelial dysfunction occurs in the blood vessels of the penis, blood-flow is negatively affected. This explains why having bad oral hygiene results in ED. (: Potent herbs that treat erectile dysfunction.)For the UGR study, the scientists worked with 80 men. The researchers also used 78 controls. The participants included patients undergoing treatment at the Urology Service of the Clinico San Cecilio Hospital at Granada’s Health Sciences Technology Park.
The researchers analyzed sociodemographic data from the volunteers, who also had periodontal examination and were tested for the following:
- Blood glucose levels
- C-reactive protein
- Glycated hemoglobin
- Lipid profile
- Testosterone levels
The scientists discovered that at least 74 percent of the patients with erectile dysfunction had signs of periodontitis. The participants with the most severe cases of ED were also those with the worst periodontal damage.
The researchers noted that volunteers with periodontitis were at least 2.28 times more likely to have ED than the rest of the participants with healthy gums. They also noted that the biochemical variables linked to ED were C-reactive protein, glycated hemoglobin, and triglycerides.
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Gum disease: causes, symptoms, and prevention
Periodontitis is a severe gum infection that is caused by the accumulation of bacteria on your teeth and gums. The disease has four stages: inflammation (gingivitis), early periodontal disease, moderate periodontal disease, and advanced periodontal disease.
Your symptoms may vary depending on the stage of the disease, but they often include:
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Changes in the position of teeth
- Foul taste in the mouth
- Gums that bleed when brushing or flossing your teeth
- Inflammatory response throughout the body
- Loose teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Plaque or tartar buildup on your teeth
- Receding gums
- Tender, red, or swollen gums
- Tooth loss
Periodontitis is usually caused by poor oral hygiene. Other factors can also cause the disease, such as:
- Diseases that impact the immune system (e.g., HIV or leukemia)
- Hormonal changes in women (e.g., when menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause occurs) that make the gums more sensitive
- Medications that can reduce saliva flow in the mouth
- Poor nutrition (e.g., a vitamin C deficiency)
- Smoking, one of the biggest risk factors for the condition
- Type 2 diabetes
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To prevent periodontitis, quit smoking or chewing tobacco. You should also brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily to get rid of plaque.
Maintain good oral hygiene and make positive lifestyle changes to prevent periodontitis and erectile dysfunction.