The University of Granada School of Dentistry reports that men with severe gum disease are more than twice as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction, adjusting for biochemical markers and other comorbidities.
The researchers conducted a case-control study involving 80 male subjects with erectile dysfunction, based on the International Index of Erectile Function, and 78 controls. Each subject received a periodontal examination as well.
Also, the researchers gathered socioeconomic data and assessed each subject’s testosterone, lipid profile, C-reactive protein, and glycemic parameters. They then compared all variables between the groups and performed multivariate logistic regression analyses.
According to the researchers, 74% of the subjects with erectile dysfunction also presented chronic periodontitis, including higher numbers of sites with pocket probing depth between 4 and 6 mm and higher numbers of sites with clinical attachment loss of greater than 3 mm.
Triglycerides, C-reactive protein, and glycosylated hemoglobin were higher in these cases as well. The researchers concluded, then, that patients with chronic periodontitis were more likely to have erectile dysfunction independent of other confounders. Treating the periodontitis may result in improved erectile function, the researchers added.
“As startling as these findings may be, it may turn out to be a wakeup call for men to start paying attention to their oral health, particularly their gums,” said Dr. Nigel Carter, OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation.
“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,” Carter said.
The study, “Chronic Periodontitis Is Associated with Erectile Dysfunction. A Case-Control Study in European Population,” was published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.