A man's penile performance issues may begin with bad oral health.
Bad breath, bleeding gums, and crooked teeth are definite turn-offs, but poor oral hygiene may hamper men's sexual prowess even further—by causing erectile dysfunction.
In a new study, published online in the Journal of Sex and Medicine, scientists found that periodontitis, an inflammation or infection of the gums, impaired rats' ability to get hard. Although the subjects in the study were rats, researchers made the connection to human males based on findings from previous studies that showed men with periodontitis were more likely to have E.D.
The gum disease increased inflammation in the rats' bodies; when the body's inflammation levels are chronically high, severe health conditions—like heart disease—may result. Heart disease (along with obesity and diabetes) has already been linked to poor penile performance.
On top of that, rats plagued with periodontitis had less of the enzyme eNOS. This enzyme produces nitric acid in the body, which in turn relaxes blood vessels, increases blood flow to the penis, and triggers erections. Scientists believe the inflammation in the body led to the decreased levels of eNOS in the rats.
Although some experts say connecting the gums to the penis is too much of a stretch, the study authors claim that treating cases of periodontitis in males will improve their sexual health.
While more research is needed—particularly on humans—some loose conclusions can absolutely be drawn from the study. For starters, erectile dysfunction experts say periodontitis is an indicator of poor health overall, which in turn leads to ED.
So, although overall, a man with good dental health—smile big, fellas!—is less likely to have penile issues in the sack. No word yet on what poor oral hygiene means for a woman and her lady parts.
Are bad teeth a turn-off for you?