Men in their 30s who had inflamed gums caused by severe periodontal disease were three times more likely to suffer from erection problems in a new study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine (December 4, 2012).
Turkish researchers compared 80 men ages 30 to 40 with erectile dysfunction with a control group of 82 men without erection problems. The average age of the men in both groups was just under 36, and there were no significant differences when it came to body mass index, household income, and education.
Their sexual function was assessed using the International Index of Erectile Function, while their periodontal health was assessed using the plaque index, bleeding on probing, probing depth, and clinical attachment level.
The researchers found that 53% of the men with erectile dysfunction had inflamed gums, compared with 23% in the control group. When the results were adjusted for other factors, such as age, body mass index, household income, and education level, the men with severe periodontal disease were 3.29 times more likely to suffer from erection problems than men with healthy gums.
"To our knowledge, erectile dysfunction and chronic periodontitis in humans are caused by similar risk factors, such as aging, smoking, diabetes mellitus, and coronary artery disease," said lead author Faith Oguz, MD, of the department of urology at Inonu University, in a press release. "We therefore excluded men who had systemic disease and who were smokers from this study. We particularly selected men aged between 30 and 40 to assess the impact of chronic periodontitis on erectile dysfunction without the results being influenced by the effects of aging."
The study results support the theory that chronic periodontitis is present more often in patients with erectile dysfunction than those without and should be considered as a factor by clinicians treating men with erection problems, the researchers concluded.