Gum disease and other oral conditions can lead to erectile dysfunction.
Story: Dr. Charles Reinertsen
Who would have thought when there’s trouble “downstairs” that the cause could be “the front door”? Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a major problem worldwide, and is estimated to affect the quality of life for more than 150 million men. It can cause stress, limit self-confidence, and cause relationship problems with partners. It can happen to men of any age.
Your mouth is the front door to your entire body. When you have an infection in your mouth, you either swallow, inhale, or otherwise deposit harmful bacteria and other toxins directly into your bloodstream. One of the possible consequences of oral bacteria in the bloodstream is cardiovascular disease, which affects blood flow.
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease with no pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is a 70 percent or higher chance you have periodontal disease if you are 65 or older. The products of gum infections (pus) are deposited into the bloodstream and transferred throughout the body. This affects the blood vessels everywhere—including the heart, the brain, and even those going to the penis. Atherosclerosis starts in the small vessels such as the penile vasculature, and advances to larger arteries such as the coronaries. ED can be an early sign of cardiovascular disease.
During an erection, the penis is filled with blood. If the vessels supplying blood to the penis are compromised, the blood doesn’t flow as it should. Medications can dilate the blood vessels temporarily, but when the medication wears off, so do the benefits. Medications are managing the symptoms but not addressing the source of the problem.
A healthy mouth is not an option; it’s a necessity. Make an appointment with a qualified dentist to check for any gum disease, tooth infection, or airway restriction that could be affecting your overall health. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll enjoy the benefits.
Prevention is the best approach. Healthy living requires four things:
Healthy diet. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, it may not be good for you.
Exercise. You don’t have to pump iron, but you do have to exercise. Walk, lift light weights, swim, or ride a bike. Get moving!
Healthy mouth. You don’t need a Hollywood smile to have a healthy mouth, but you need a healthy mouth to have a healthy body, including “downstairs.” Lack of pain does not equate to good health.
Positive attitude.Your thoughts do make a difference.
Smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure also can affect ED. Two of these are under your immediate control. The third may require medical assistance.
Physicians should refer patients with ED to oral health-care providers for a comprehensive oral evaluation and treatment. Dentists and physicians should collaborate to manage and monitor patients with either chronic periodontitis or ED because of their potential association not only with each other, but also with more serious systemic diseases.
Yourfilthymouth.com has many references to these other serious diseases. Education is the first step.
Knowledge is not power. It is potential power and becomes powerful only when it is put to use. Take action!
About the writer → Dr. Charles Reinertsen practices at LifeTime Dental, 215 E. Burleigh Blvd. (U.S. Highway 441),Tavares. Call 352.253.6400 or visit lifetimedental.us.