Gum disease may have an impact on the ability to achieve an erection, the British Dental Health Foundation has reported. The independent charity based its report on the latest research published in the Journal of Periodontology and suggests that the cause of erectile dysfunction could be oral bacteria passing into the bloodstream.
A research team in India carried out the study on 70 male subjects with a mean age of 35, all of whom had been diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. The tests found a correlation between gum disease and the ability to achieve an erection. The data demonstrated that as the prevalence of chronic periodontitis increased, so did the severity of erectile dysfunction.
More than four out of five men (81.8 per cent) with severe erectile dysfunction had gum disease. In comparison, in cases of mild erectile dysfunction, the incidence of gum disease was less than two in five men.
According to the National Institutes of Health, erectile dysfunction is a condition that affects one in ten men worldwide, and is more commonly experienced after the age of 40. Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation Dr Nigel Carter believes that the stigma attached to the condition could be forcing men throughout the country to turn a blind eye to their oral health.
“To associate gum disease, the major preventable cause of tooth loss in adults, with such a taboo subject amongst males is not something that should be taken lightly,” Carter said. “If, in theory, four out of five men who suffer from erectile dysfunction have poor oral health, the effect it could have on their general health poses a serious health risk to those individuals affected.”
According to Carter, it is well known that gum disease has been linked to many conditions in the past that could have a detrimental effect on general health, such as heart disease and diabetes. When people have gum disease, bacteria from the mouth may enter their bloodstream; therefore, it should come as no surprise that this piece of research has linked vascular erectile dysfunction, another cardiac-related condition, with gum disease.