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Studies Suggest Link Between ED and Gum Disease

Studies Suggest Link Between ED and Gum Disease

Men with chronic gum disease (periodontitis) are more than twice as likely to have erectile dysfunction (ED) than men with healthy gums, according to a recent study in the International Journal of Impotence Research.

The finding is based on a review of five medical studies published between 2009 and 2014. Overall, the studies included data from over 213,000 men who ranged in age from 20 to 80.

The researchers weren’t sure exactly why the two conditions are associated. However, a 2012 study suggested that gum disease could be linked to blood vessel damage, even in the penis. Good blood flow to the penis is essential for a firm erection. Many men develop ED because of blocked blood vessels.

Gum disease happens gradually. Every day, bacteria and other substances cause plaque and tartar to form on the teeth. If teeth aren’t cleaned regularly, gingivitis can develop. This is a milder form of gum disease, an inflammation of the gums.

Left untreated, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. When this happens, the gums pull away from the teeth and infection spreads. Eventually, the bone and other tissue that keep the teeth in place break down. Some people with periodontitis lose the affected teeth.

Fortunately, periodontitis can be prevented with proper dental care, including routine brushing and flossing and regular visits to a dentist. People who smoke should consider quitting, as smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for gum disease.


International Journal of Impotence Research

Liu, L. H., et al.

“Chronic periodontitis and the risk of erectile dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis”

(Abstract. November 10, 2016)

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

“Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments”

(September 2013)

Reuters Health

Doyle, Kathryn

“Chronic gum disease tied to risk of erectile dysfunction”

(November 25, 2016)

“Gum Disease and Erectile Dysfunction (ED)”

(April 24, 2013)