Can brushing your teeth prevent erectile dysfunction? If so, here’s a good reason to practice oral hygiene. A new study found that men with severe gum disease (periodontitis) are at greater risk of erectile dysfunction. This research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association on May 21, 2012, by researchers from Far Eastern Memorial Hospital and Taipei Medical University.
Previous research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggested you could prevent erectile dysfunction by brushing your teeth. In that study, investigators reported that rats with gum disease had lower levels of an enzyme (endothelial nitric oxide synthase) necessary for getting an erection.
The latest study used data from a study of nearly 33,000 men with erectile dysfunction and about 162,000 men without impotence (controls). Approximately 12% of the study participants had periodontitis, and of this group, about 27% had erectile dysfunction and about 9% did not.
After a five-year follow-up, researchers found that gum disease was much more prevalent among men who had erectile dysfunction than the controls. The risk of erectile dysfunction linked to gum disease was especially prevalent among men younger than 30 and those older than 70.
It’s important to note the study did not establish that gum disease causes erectile dysfunction, but that there is an association between the two. Men are urged to maintain good dental hygiene both for oral health and possible sexual health consequences.
Read more in our Erectile Dysfunction Health Center.
Keller JJ et al. A nationwide population-based study on the association between chronic periodontitis and erectile dysfunction. Journal of Clinical Periodontology 2012 Jun; 39(6): 507-12
Zuo Z et al. Effect of periodontitis on erectile function and its possible mechanism. Journal of Sexual Medicine 2011 Sep; 8(9): 2598-605