Erectile dysfunction: make an appointment with the dentist

Men who suffer from periodontitis, a disease characterized by inflammation of the gums and damage to the structures that surround and support the teeth, are at a greater risk of suffering from erectile dysfunction.

Effective tooth brushing, coupled with good oral hygiene, can help prevent this type of male sexual impotence. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by researchers from the Department of Surgery (Urology) and the Department of Stomatology at the University of Granada (UGR), Spain.

Bacteria in the mouth also attack the small blood vessels in the penis

Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability of a man to achieve an erection, due to physical or psychological factors or a combination of both. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is a chronic inflammation of the gums, which gradually destroys the alveolar bone and the connective tissues which anchor the teeth in their place. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss.

Periodontal bacteria or inflammatory cytokines that come from infected gums harm vascular endothelial cells. When this dysfunction occurs in the penile blood vessels, blood flow is negatively affected, leading to impotence.

Oral health, testosterone, lipids, glucose, hemoglobin… a study under the magnifying glass

The UGR study was carried out on a sample of 80 men, using 78 controls, among patients already receiving treatment at the Urology Department of the Clínico San Cecilio Hospital at the Granada Health Sciences Technology Park. Participants provided their sociodemographic data, underwent periodontal examination, testosterone level, lipid profile, C-reactive protein, blood glucose levels and glycated hemoglobin.

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74% of men with erectile dysfunction also have periodontitis

Researchers found that 74% of patients with erectile dysfunction showed signs of periodontitis. Those with the most severe dysfunction had the worst periodontal damage, while patients with periodontitis were 2.28 times more likely to have erectile dysfunction than patients with healthy gums.

The results have been published in the journal of Clinical Periodontology.


Amada Martin et al. Chronic periodontitis is associated with erectile dysfunction. A case-control study in european population, Journal of Clinical Periodontology DOI: 10.1111/jcpe.12909


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