02 July 2018

Don’t go soft on your oral health routine – that’s the message from the Oral Health Foundation after new research finds a link between gum disease and erectile dysfunction.

The study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, reveals that men with severe gum disease are more than twice as likely to suffer from impotence compared to those with healthy teeth and gums.1

The first study of its kind that involved a European population examined more than 150 men, and researchers were able to determine that three in four (74%) with erectile dysfunction also had poor oral health.

In response to the findings, the Oral Health Foundation, wants to emphasise the links between advancing gum disease and issues in other parts of the body and believes the benefits of taking better care of your gums can go far beyond a healthy mouth.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, says: “As startling as these findings may be, it may turn out to be a wake-up call for men to start paying greater attention to their oral health, particularly their gums.

“In recent years, gum disease has been linked with conditions like diabetes, stroke and heart disease but an increased risk of coming up short in the bedroom may be the final straw for men who might have been reluctant to spend a little extra time looking after their gums.”  

Gum disease happens when the tissues supporting the teeth swell and become sore or infected. If you fail to treat it in it’s early stages, the disease will continue to worsen, and can result in tooth loss.

Finding blood on your toothbrush or in the toothpaste you spit out after brushing is a common symptom of the condition. Your gums may also bleed when you eat, leaving a bad taste in your mouth.

“Fortunately, gum disease is an entirely preventable and treatable disease but avoiding it and lowering the risk of poor performance in the bedroom requires an effective and consistent oral health routine,” Dr Carter adds.

“Brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cleaning in between your teeth once a day using interdental brushes and maintaining regular visits to the dentist are the best way to avoid or treat gum disease.

“It takes a relatively small amount of time to give your teeth and gums the care they need and falling short of that can really leave you in a difficult position later in the day.”

The research also says that treating gum disease by reducing inflammation of the gums can result in improved erectile function. 

As well as being able to treat any signs of gum disease before it develops into a more serious issue, regular dental visits can also remove plaque and tartar from your teeth, as well as give your mouth a fresh bill of health.

Head over to our "Gum disease" page to find out more on this topic. Alternatively, contact our Dental Helpline for free and impartial advice on a range of oral health topics.


Sources

  1. Martin A, Bravo M, Arrabal M et al. (2018) Chronic periodontitis is associated with erectile dysfunction. A case-control study in European population. Wiley: Journal of Clinical Periodontology. 2018;45:791-798.