Researchers are trying to determine if gum disease shares a link to prostate health, specifically prostatitis, an inflammation of the prostate. Researchers studied a group of men and found those with the most severe cases of prostatitis also had signs of gum disease. Gum disease has also shown a connection to heart disease and diabetes. Researchers believe the study shows the gum diseases from something as minor as bleeding gums to a full case of periodontal disease can be connected to a whole host of other inflammatory diseases.
Linking gum disease to prostate health could be because of the inflammation levels that are found in prostate patients. Because the blood vessels in the mouth are connected to so many other body parts, it could be possible that high levels of inflammation in other parts of the body, such as the prostate, can make their presence known through an inflammation in the mouth. Of course, the opposite could be true as well. It could be that the inflammation in the mouth and gums contributed to the increased inflammation in the prostate. The study looked at the levels of prostate specific antigen and clinical attachment levels, which are an indicator of gum disease. Researchers found that patients with high levels of clinical attachment levels and moderate to severe prostatitis also had high levels of prostate specific antigen. It didn’t signify which inflammation caused the occurrence of the other.
Since gum disease could be linked to prostate health, it should result in more people paying attention to their dental health. While proper care of the gums and teeth is not likely to cure an inflammation of the prostate, it may provide a better awareness of what is occurring in the mouth. Gum inflammation and other gum issues are reversible through proper dental hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing, along with the use of mouthwash can go a long way to improving gum health. Trips to the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups can also improve dental health.
Dr. Hazim is a member of the American Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. A graduate of Loyola University, Dr. Hazim has undergone continuing education at the Pankey Institute and has received accreditation from the Western Regional Examining Board.