Brush Your Teeth or Face Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction in some men may start with poor dental hygiene and inflamed gums

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Your smile could reveal that you have erection problems. Inflamed gums are a sign of gum disease. This condition can lead to heart disease, which has been linked to erectile dysfunction (ED).

How can a condition that starts in the mouth affect an erection? Poor dental hygiene can lead to gum disease. Bacteria from gum disease may be linked to cardiovascular disease, which, in turn, has been connected to erection problems.

A new study confirms the connection finding that men with erection trouble are three times as likely to have inflamed gums.

"Practice proper dental hygiene to avoid health problems."

Fatih Oguz, MD, in the Department of Urology at Inonu University in Malatya, Turkey, led research comparing 80 men from age 30 to 40 with erectile dysfunction with a control group of 82 men without erection problems. The average age of the men was just under 36 and there were no significant differences when it came to body mass index, household income and education.

More than half of the men with erectile dysfunction had inflamed gums caused by severe periodontal (gum) disease compared with just under a quarter in the control group. Those with unhealthy gums were about three times more likely to suffer erection problems. Investigators suspect that the ongoing gum disease [chronic periodontitis] could be causing coronary issues in patients, which is leading to the ED. The scientists, however, did not evaluate the heart condition of patients in this study.

A 2005 Oral Infections and Vascular Disease Epidemiology Study (INVEST), sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, found that higher levels of periodontal bacteria were associated with thicker carotid arteries.

Parviz Kavoussi, MD, reproductive urologist/andrologist at the Austin Center for Men’s Health in Texas, told dailyRx News, “It has been well established that ED may be a predictor for coronary artery [heart] disease. The blood vessels that supply the penis are only a quarter of the size of the ones that feed the heart, so ED is seen well before coronary disease in most men with blood vessel disease as a risk factor for their ED.”

“Previous studies have suggested periodontal disease may be associated with heart disease and systemic vascular disease as well,” Dr. Kavoussi added. “This study supports the theory that vascular disease contributes to both ED and periodontal disease. So perhaps a more important way to consider this data is that men with ED and periodontal disease may need to be screened even closer for systemic vascular disease and heart disease.”

Dr. Oguz said this research suggests that clinicians should consider chronic periodontitis when treating men with erection problems.

This study was published in the December issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 3, 2012
Last Updated:
December 4, 2012