Why Gum Disease Can Contribute to ED
There may be more ways to battle ED than you thought. Recent research has brought to light the relationship that ED and gum disease share, and how ED may actually be more prevalent in people with unmanaged periodontal (gum) disease.
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory response in the oral tissues around teeth that have increased levels of plaque biofilm and tartar buildup. This systemic reaction is an attempt to deliver antibodies to the area of infection so that the disease can be combatted by the immune system. As a result, the attached tissue around each tooth begins to detach, allowing some bacteria to enter into the blood supply. In turn, systemic inflammatory changes begin to take place, including a greater risk of chronic ED.
Signs Of Gum/Periodontal Disease Include:
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
- Swollen, red, or purple gums
- Gum recession
- Bad breath
- Visible buildup of tartar or plaque along the gumlines
- Loose teeth
- Pain when chewing
If you’re battling mild to moderate gingivitis, you should be able to reverse the symptoms of bleeding or mild gum irritation within 2 weeks. Brushing gently along the gumlines for a minimum of two minutes and flossing tightly around the tooth (sliding floss under the gumlines) daily will remove bacteria that cause gingivitis to become gum disease. Remember, brushing will not clean areas between the teeth or under the gumlines, where gum disease starts. Using a water flosser is another great floss alternative to remove areas of bacteria that flossing can’t reach.
Your dentist will diagnose periodontal disease by:
- Radiographic examination of visible bone loss
- Measurement of periodontal pockets
- Assessment of gingival health and bleeding levels
If moderate to severe periodontal disease exists, only professional treatment combined with dedicated home care can eliminate the active disease. In turn, this will reduce the inflammatory response that contributes to chronic ED. The benefits of periodontal treatment may decrease the time spent battling ED symptoms, but preventing the disease entirely is a sure way to limit its effects on the condition. Typically, professional treatments will involve deep cleanings under local anesthesia to remove deep areas of bacterial deposits. In more severe cases, surgical treatments may also be needed.
Active gum disease requires more routine cleanings for maintenance of the condition to prevent relapse of the symptoms. Ideally, patients will begin at 3 month intervals until being spread out to every 6 months when symptoms are managed.
If you’ve been battling symptoms of ED and happen to have any of the conditions mentioned above, then it’s time to schedule a cleaning with your dental office. A confidential treatment plan will be formulated to help combat your oral health needs as well as provide maximum plaque control in order to minimize the effects on systemic conditions such as ED. It’s important to fully disclose your medical condition with your dentist in order for our teams to provide attentive care as it relates to your personal health needs.