We know that gum disease is associated with many serious health conditions. Heart disease. Diabetes. Kidney disease. Some studies even suggest that chronic gum disease can be associated with low testosterone levels and men’s sexual dysfunction.
But not all studies agree about this association. A newly published review sought to determine whether this connection was real or not–but only found that we need more and better research before we can say for sure that chronic gum disease can lead to low testosterone levels.
What we can say for sure, though, is that regular dental checkups are part of a comprehensive health approach that can promote a man’s sexual health.
A Systematic Review
The new review, published in the American Journal of Men’s Health, looked at all studies examining the relationship between testosterone levels and chronic gum disease. They identified a total of 8 studies that looked at this relationship, as of June 2016. Seven of the studies looked at testosterone levels in blood serum. Two studies looked at it in saliva. And one looked at testosterone levels in the gum tissue.
Of these studies, six found that chronic gum disease was associated with lower testosterone levels. One study showed that chronic gum disease was associated with higher testosterone levels. Another study showed no significant difference.
The Evidence Is not Convincing
Even though six of the studies seemed to point toward a connection between low testosterone levels and chronic gum disease, researchers decided that the state of current evidence left the connection debatable. Part of it is that the studies were so differently designed. Some of the studies were small, with only 24 participants. Others were large, with over 1800 men. The ages of participants ranged from 15 to 95. One study looked just at men between age 19 and 21. Another looked just at men from age 66 to 95.
Overall, researchers felt that there wasn’t enough care taken to account for all the many potential confounders that can influence both gum disease and testosterone levels, such as: aging, genetics, diabetes, obesity, smoking, and more. Without correcting for these factors, the data in the studies couldn’t be trusted as authoritative.
Gum Disease Is a Factor in Men’s Sexual Health
Although testosterone levels may not be associated with gum disease, researchers note that gum disease can have an independent negative impact on men’s sexual and reproductive health. Erectile dysfunction, for example, isn’t always related to testosterone. In fact, it’s more often related to cardiovascular health. And because gum disease can negatively impact a man’s cardiovascular health, it can also impact his sexual function. And gum disease may also impact a man’s sperm quality.
Overall, periodontal health is an important factor to consider if you are experiencing sexual health difficulties. If you are looking for a dentist in Tulsa who can help safeguard your periodontal and overall health, please call (918) 528-3330 today for an appointment at Winters Dental Excellence.