Gum disease has long been linked to cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s, but a new study has linked gum disease to erectile dysfunction. Men with gum disease have an increased risk of having erectile dysfunction, adding one more reason to the list of why it’s so important to brush your teeth, floss, and keep regular appointments with your dentist.
Dr. Brenda Paulen of Proudsmiles in Sandy Springs, GA offers patients health-centered, complete dentistry to keep smiles and bodies healthy.
Gum Disease and Inflammation
Gum disease, clinically called periodontitis, occurs when bacteria in the mouth have infiltrated the gums, causing swelling, redness, and bleeding when brushing teeth. Mild gum disease is easily reversed, but if left untreated, it progresses into more severe gum disease where pockets of pus form in the gums, potentially leading to tooth loss and infection throughout the body.
Our bodies respond to gum disease just like they would to any other infection. The immune system releases defense cells to the area where the bacteria are, which is why gums become inflamed. This inflammation affects blood vessels throughout the entire body, so something happening in the mouth can affect the rest of the body.
Inflammation and Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is defined as a man’s inability to achieve an erection. Sometimes this is a result of physical or psychological factors, or a combination of the two. In a patient with gum disease, the inflammatory cells in the mouth cause damage to blood vessels throughout the entire body.
Erectile dysfunction can occur as a result of damage to blood vessels in the penis, and a new study has linked the inflammation from gum disease to erectile dysfunction.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
The most important weapon in the fight against gum disease is your at-home oral hygiene regimen. Brushing your teeth twice a day — in the morning and at night — and flossing at least once a day after brushing is the best way to prevent gum disease.
Keeping regular appointments with your dentist for professional cleanings, X-rays, and examinations will help spot minor issues before they become big problems. The good news about gum disease is that it can be reversed, so if you’re suffering from symptoms related to gum disease, contact our Sandy Springs dental office online or call (404) 418-7734 today.