There are numerous possible causes of erectile dysfunction. Physical causes can include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. There are psychological causes as well, however, which can include stress, depression, anxiety or relationship troubles. Researchers are still discovering new contributing factors also.
For example, a new study by researchers at Inonu University in Turkey has discovered that treating gum disease can actually alleviate symptoms of erectile dysfunction. The study adds to a growing body of research indicating that your dental health is influential on may other aspects of your health, as well. Although the study did not prove that gum disease is the cause of ED entirely, it suggests that the symptoms of ED can be alleviated with improvements in dental health.
Adding to Existing Research
In the past, a Chinese study indicated that gum disease could be linked to erectile dysfunction, though many experts were skeptical about such a seemingly nonsensical link. However, the new Turkish study confirms this link, and further finds that treating gum disease, or periodontitis, can reduce their symptoms of erectile dysfunction within three months of treatment. The researchers are calling it the first study they know of that has linked the treatment of gum disease with the severity of erectile dysfunction.
However, other studies aside from the Chinese one have indicated at least some connection between gum disease and erectile dysfunction, including ones from Taiwan, Israel and India. Some of these studies have indicated that gum disease is a cause of erectile dysfunction, while others have suggested that both conditions share the same cause.
About the Study
Roughly 120 individuals with both chronic periodontitis and erectile dysfunction were included in the Turkish study. Half of the subjects received treatment for periodontitis, while half received no treatment at all. When the researchers asked the patients to answer questions about their erectile dysfunction symptoms, those in the gum disease treatment group almost unanimously reported improvement in their erectile functioning within three months.
The new study lends credence to the notion that gum disease may be at least one cause of erectile dysfunction. However, the reason for this link is still unclear to scientists.
Does Gum Disease Really Be a Cause of ED?
Despite the findings, not everyone in the medical community is convinced that gum disease can actually cause erectile dysfunction. University of Maryland School of Medicine associate urology professor Dr. Andrew Kramer is one of those people. According to Kramer, there is a link of association between gum disease and ED, but not a link of causation. In other words, he doesn’t believe that one can cause the other.
Specifically, Kramer says there’s no scientific explanation for why periodontitis could have any influence on the male genitalia, whether it has to do with blood flow, nerves or some other contributing factor to erectile dysfunction. Instead, Kramer believes that a common cause could lie behind both gum disease and ED. He says that the cause could be diabetes, high blood pressure, a general lack of medical attention, a poor status of general health, heart disease, or some combination of the above.
The Turkish researchers behind the new study agree that gum disease is not necessarily a direct cause of ED. They said that future studies will look to find more information about how erectile dysfunction and gum disease may influence one another, and whether they could share the same underlying cause.
The Bottom Line
Treating gum disease may also reduce the severity of erectile dysfunction, according to a new study by Turkish researchers. The full text of the study will be available in the future online in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.