Periodontal (bone disease) and its implications in men’s general health

I thought, as we have just concluded Movember – the month of good and bad facial hair, to raise awareness of men’s health issues. It would be appropriate to write a blog on how periodontal disease affects men’s health.

Periodontal disease, or as I like to call it, bone disease, is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects 3/4 of adults.  In addition, research has found there is a higher incidence of periodontal disease in men than women (56% vs. 38%). This could be due to a higher incidence of plaque (soft biofilm deposit) and tartar or calculus (hardened biofilm deposit), and more bleeding on probing as compared with women.  Men are also less likely to go to the dentist, affecting the gum and bone health due to later diagnosis and treatment of this silent disease. Moreover, gum and bone health is very important for men as it is correlated or can impact other general health conditions in addition to the most common cause of adult tooth loss.

Prostate health:

Many people have heard of PSA in relation to prostate health.  PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen. It is an enzyme, normally secreted in very small amounts from the prostate. PSA levels can increase when the prostate becomes inflamed, infected, or affected by cancer. Men who have both indicators of gum and bone disease such as inflammation (red, swollen and gums tender to the touch – like a sliver under your skin) in addition to prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) have higher levels of PSA.  Men who have only periodontal disease or only prostatitis have lower levels. This would indicate that prostate health might be associated with periodontal health- one more reason to keep your jawbone healthy.

Heart disease:

Chronic inflammation is the common link between heart disease and periodontitis. Studies indicate that the two diseases are associated and that having gum and jaw bone disease may actually increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.  Long-term or chronic inflammation contributes to many systemic health problems, especially atherosclerosis. Therefore, it would make sense to reduce your body’s burden of inflammation.  This is another good reason to maintain your gum and bone health with excellent home care and regular maintenance visits with Braeside Dental Centre.

Impotence:

The American Academy of periodontology has found that:

“A new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men in their 30s who had severe periodontal disease were three times more likely to suffer from erection problems. While this study suggests an association between erectile dysfunction and periodontal disease, the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) believes more research is needed before conclusively linking the two.”

While, this research has found a link between vascular disease and periodontal disease, it is not a cause and effect relationship and more research is needed.  However, this association adds to the image that getting help to manage a chronic inflammatory disease is going to help your general health.

Cancer:

Also according to the American Academy of Periodontology:

“Recent research found men with a history of gum disease are 14 percent more likely to develop cancer than men with healthy gums. More specifically, 49 percent of men are more likely than women to develop kidney cancer, 59 percent were more likely to develop pancreatic cancer and 30 percent more likely to develop blood cancer.”

Alzheimer’s:

There is a lot of research being done on the association of periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s.  I find this a fascinating subject, and will have my entire next blog dedicated to this subject, so stay tuned.

In conclusion, if you would like to maintain your general health to its highest level, please don’t forget about your gum and bone health!  Make your dental hygiene maintenance appointment at Braeside Dental Centre today.

-Dr. Jost

Braeside Dental Centre

Periodontal (bone disease) and its implications in men’s general health

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