Prostate Health Connection To Gum Health Revealed

Posted on Mar 27, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

For decades, research findings have shown health risks related to the effects of systemic inflammation. This is chronic inflammation inside the body that continually simmers and can’t turn itself off. While this inflammatory ‘boil’ is not obvious, it has been found to contribute to a number of serious health problems.

Research has found links between systemic inflammation and heart attack, stroke, memory loss, arthritis, diabetes, some cancers, preterm babies, impotency and even Alzheimer’s Disease.  In their quest to track down potential triggers of internal inflammation, researchers have been taking a closer look at periodontal disease, a bacterial infection in the mouth.

Periodontal (gum) disease begins when there is an over-accumulation of bacteria in the mouth. As bacteria reproduce and thrive, they attack gum tissues and the structures that support teeth. When this infectious bacteria enters the bloodstream through weakened gums, it can create inflammatory reactions that can set into motion the potential development of serious conditions.

Symptoms of gum disease include tender gums that bleed easily when brushing, persistent bad breath, gums that turn red, receded gums and pus pockets that form around teeth. Because many people are unaware that these symptoms are so harmful, periodontal disease is estimated to exist at some level in over 47% of American adults. Thus, it is no surprise that gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

In addition to the health problems listed above, new research has shown a possible connection between gum disease bacteria and Prostatitis, an infection of the prostate. Like periodontal disease, Prostatitis is an inflammatory disease. Prostatitis causes a frequent urge to urinate and a painful or burning sensation during urination.

The connection between periodontal disease bacteria and Prostatitis was revealed as a result of a study by researchers at Case Western University’s School of Dental Medicine and the Case Medical Center’s Department of Urology & Pathology. They found that Prostatitis symptoms were greatly improved by treating gum disease, even when prostrate treatment was withheld.

In the study, all participants had moderate to severe levels of gum disease. Additionally, each had inflammation of the prostrate gland with higher than normal prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels.

The participants were divided into two groups. One group consisted of men who were treated for gum disease. The other group received no treatment for their gum disease. Throughout the study, both groups had prostrate symptoms and PSA levels monitored but none received treatment for their prostate conditions.

At one-month and two-month marks, the PSA levels were measured in both groups. The findings showed that an overwhelming majority of those who were treated for gum disease had significantly lower PSA levels.

While these findings may help Prostatitis patients achieve better treatment results, the study reinforces how closely our oral health is connected to our overall health, even more than previously thought. Based on the study, just managing oral bacteria levels can reduce the risk of triggering inflammatory reactions in the body. In addition, we avoid oral problems that can be costly and time-consuming to treat.

Obviously, the potent bacteria of gum disease is nothing to ignore. As research continues to find links between it and serious health problems, we will share them. For now, take good care of your body AND your smile! If you have any of the symptoms associated to gum disease, call 828-274-9440 to schedule an examination. As a periodontal specialist, I am trained to treat all stages of gum disease.

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