Men ‘unwilling’ to change despite warning
Severe gum disease in men more than doubles their risk of impotence – nevertheless, half remain reluctant to take steps to improve their oral health despite knowing the risks not brushing can have on their sexual performance.
New research by the British Dental Health Foundation reveals only around one in two (55 per cent) men aware of a link between oral health and impotence would take steps to improve their current oral hygiene routine.
The findings also show the lack of knowledge on the topic, with more than four out of five (83 per cent) of men oblivious of a potential link between the two health conditions.
A recent study showed more than half (53 per cent) of men suffering from severe gum disease exhibited signs of impotence, compared to fewer than one in four (23 per cent) without.
Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, wants men to take the claims seriously.
Dr Carter said: “Sexual health problems, particularly for men, are no laughing matter. Not only does oral health become a problem, self-confidence, esteem and relationships could suffer too.
“The link may seem frivolous, but numerous research papers clearly point to severe gum disease as a possible cause of erectile dysfunction. If, as the survey seems to suggest, men don’t believe the two could be linked and more worryingly don’t consider improving their oral health, they will put themselves at risk of developing a sexual health problem.”
The findings have been revealed as part of National Smile Month, the UK’s largest oral health campaign. Running until 20 June, Dr Carter says the campaign is a good chance to take a few simple preventive steps to reducing the risk of both health problems.
“If you suffer from gum disease, bacteria can get into the bloodstream and potentially cause cardio-vascular problems, so preventing gum disease from developing is really important.
“Removing food stuck in between your teeth close to gum lines is a key step to preventing gum disease. Using interdental brushes or flossing is the best way of doing this.
“Regular visits to the dentist will also give your dentist the best possible opportunity to monitor your oral health. If they feel it is deteriorating and plaque is building up, a simple scale and polish can put you on the right track, provided you keep up a good routine at home. These will not stop sexual health problems from developing, but evidence suggests they could reduce the risk.”