• July 22, 2012
  • Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh

I had the pleasure of going to Hobart with my wonderful husband last weekend and I couldn’t help but notice the Prostate Cancer awareness information in the airports. I think it’s a great way to promote awareness. On the topic of ailments reserved for men, there may be a link between erectile dysfunction (ED) and periodontal disease. 1, 2

Periodontal disease is a chronic, inflammatory condition that affects more than half of the American population.3 I do not have the same statistics on the Australian population, but when you consider the vast amount of similarities between the two countries, I think I can make a fair assessment that the Australian population most likely has a similar rate of periodontal disease. According to the American Academy of Periodontology website, periodontal disease has been assessed by the CDC to be more prevalent in men than in women.3 Periodontal disease is an inflammatory process that has been linked with endothelial dysfunction, atherosclerosis and systemic inflammation.2

The correlation between ED and periodontal disease in the study found in the Journal of Sexual Health is based on the idea that chronic periodontal disease is present more commonly in men with ED than men without ED.1 This study also suggests that periodontal disease may increase endothelial dysfunction.1 However, the authors note that endothelial dysfunction needs to be further assessed to determine if it is the causative pathway between periodontal disease and ED. They also advise that periodontal health be considered as a potential cause for ED in otherwise healthy young men.1

So, even though the data suggest the connection, I think the important part of this is to realize that oral health is important in all aspects of total body health. Your mouth is attached to the rest of your body and it should be included in your plans for overall health. The best way to take care of your mouth is to floss, brush and check in with your dental team on a regular basis. Hopefully, none of you reading this article will have to consider periodontal disease as a complication to your health because you are one of our many educated patients taking steps to promote both your oral and total body health!

1)    1- Oğuz, F., Eltas, A., Beytur, A., Akdemir, E., Uslu, M. Ö. and Güneş, A. (2013), Is There a Relationship Between Chronic Periodontitis and Erectile Dysfunction?. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10: 838–843. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02974.x http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02974.x/pdf

2)     2-Zadik, Y., Bechor, R., Galor, S., Justo, D. and Heruti, R. J. (2009), Erectile Dysfunction Might Be Associated With Chronic Periodontal Disease: Two Ends of the Cardiovascular Spectrum. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 6: 1111–1116. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.01141. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.01141.x/abstract

3)      3-http://www.perio.org/consumer/cdc-study.htm

Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh
About The Author

Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh

Catherine-Anne is a New Zealand-qualified dentist. She holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from Sydney University and she has a broad range of experiences from working in both the public and private sector.


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