It is a fact that periodontal health impacts not simply the teeth and gums, but the entire body. The connection between gum health and systemic health affects individuals’ risk of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer, among many other systemic complications. Unfortunately for men, periodontal disease impacts the whole-body health of men disproportionately to women. In fact, while women develop periodontal disease at a rate of 38.4%, men suffer from the disease at a rate of 56.4%.
Periodontal disease exacerbates a number of health problems in males, particularly impotence, prostate health, heart disease, and cancer. As a result, men must be especially vigilant in maintaining their periodontal health, as gum disease in men impacts a variety of health factors in the entire body.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, males with periodontal disease suffer a heightened risk of impotence. According to a study from the Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences, researchers found a strong link between chronic periodontitis and erectile dysfunction. Prolonged inflammation found in individuals with periodontal disease damages blood vessels throughout the body, which can lead to erectile dysfunction.
Gum disease also harms prostate health. Gingival inflammation and periodontal pathogens found in men with gum disease are linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer, one study found. But when men are treated for their gum disease, they show decreased prostate inflammation and malignancy.
Both cardiovascular disease and periodontal disease are chronic inflammatory conditions. Gum disease actually increases a person’s risk of heart disease by 20 percent, and both the American Dental Association and American Heart Association acknowledge the relationship between gum and heart disease.
Men already are at a higher risk of heart disease than women, and periodontal disease escalates the likelihood that men will suffer from heart disease. The good news is that men can be proactive and take care of their gum health to decrease the risk of heart problems.
Men who have gum disease are 14% more at risk for developing cancer than men with healthy gums, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. What is more, men are 49% more likely than women to develop kidney cancer, 59% more likely to endure pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to experience blood cancer. This means that men must be especially vigilant in taking care of their gum health. Men who already have periodontal disease should consult a periodontist to develop a treatment plan. Not only their teeth and gums, but also their whole body, will benefit.
If you are a male and have periodontal disease, the best thing you can do is seek professional help and make sure you are doing everything at home to maintain your oral health, including regular brushing and flossing. The worst thing you could do is to do nothing.
Have questions? Give us a call at (919) 518-8222 — we’d love to talk with you about specific ways to improve your periodontal health!