Can Periodontal Disease Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects about 5 percent of men who are forty, and the risk of suffering from this condition increases with age. There are many reasons why a man may be unable to obtain or sustain an erection, but a surprising possible cause may be periodontal disease. Here's more information about this issue.

Periodontal Disease and Erectile Dysfunction

At first blush, it may not seem like there's much connection between oral and genital health. Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria settling in and aggravating gum tissues and teeth. It's usually the result of poor dental hygiene and failing to get rid of the plaque left behind by bacteria. Eventually this plaque hardens into tartar that bacteria use to inculcate themselves from being eliminated.

Erectile dysfunction, on the other hand, is caused by a variety of psychological, environmental, and physical issues including stress, anxiety, drug abuse, disease, and trauma to the genitals.

However, one thing that appears to connect the two diseases is the vascular system. Studies have shown that periodontal disease can have a negative impact on the health of the heart and blood vessels. This is because oral bacteria don't stay in the mouth. They get into the bloodstream and cause inflammation that can lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

Blood has a more difficult time flowing through hardened arteries. Since adequate blood flow plays a big part in obtaining and sustaining an erection, the hit to the circulatory system can contribute to erectile dysfunction.

Fixing the Problem

It may seem like a stretch to connect periodontal disease to ED. If your sexual performance is suffering because of ED, then it's a good idea to eliminate as many possible causative factors as possible. Periodontal disease impacts more than your sex life–the infection can damage the jawbone and lead to tooth loss, for example–so investing time and money into treating the problem can improve your overall health.

If you suspect you have periodontal disease (the most common symptoms are bleeding and/or red swollen gums, gum recession, and bad breath), the first thing you should do is make an appointment with a dentist. The treatment your dentist prescribes or performs depends on the severity of the infection and may include:

  • Administration of antibiotics and other medication
  • Deep cleaning (also called scaling and root planing)
  • Surgery

If you're already suffering from cardiovascular issues, you may need to consult with your regular doctor to treat them and get your health back on track.

As noted previously, periodontal disease can cause or contribute to multiple health issues. For more information about this particular health concern or others, talk to a dental office such as HC Dentistry.