Effect of Periodontal Disease in Men: An Introduction

How it Impacts their overall health

The incidence of periodontal disease tends to be higher in men than in women. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, more than 50% of men have some form of periodontal disease, while it is only about 38% for women. Such difference could be due to the fact that men tend to have poorer oral hygiene and/or are less likely to pay a visit to their dentist, be it for curative or preventive treatment. Or it could also be a result of habits like smoking which causes increased plaque and calcular deposits.

Achieving and maintaining periodontal health in men is of utmost importance, as it may influence their overall health. Listed and discussed below are some of health conditions associated with periodontal disease in men.

Cardiovascular Health:

Lots of studies have proven the connection between periodontal disease and cardiovascular health. Periodontal disease may play a role in the development of cardiovascular disease, particularly of the condition called infective endocarditis. Both periodontal disease and endocarditis are chronic inflammatory conditions and it is suggested that inflammation is the connection between the two.

Since men are more prone to developing heart problems compared to women, maintaining oral health is a good way to reduce their risk.

Prostate Health:

Periodontal disease is also linked to prostate health by the increased levels of PSA, or Prostate-Specific Antigen. PSA is an enzyme normally synthesized and released in small amounts. The levels of this enzyme rise when the prostate becomes infected, inflamed, or cancerous.

According to research, men suffering from both periodontal disease and prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) tend to have higher PSA levels compared to men who have either condition alone. This suggests the possible two-way connection between periodontal disease and prostate health.

Impotence:

Studies show that men with periodontal disease, particularly those between ages 30 to 70 are more susceptible to developing impotence. The mechanism, according to researchers, is that the chronic inflammation associated with periodontal disease results to damage of blood vessels all over the body, including those that supply the genitals.

Cancer:

Men who have or have had periodontal disease are said to be 14% more likely to develop cancer that those who don’t. The types of cancer associated with this oral health problem include pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, and blood cancers. The association between periodontal disease and the risk of developing pancreatic cancer was reported by a study conducted in Harvard School of Public Health. The study involved more than 50,000 male participants aged 40 to 75 years old.

The researchers did a 16-year follow-up from 1986 and 2002, and found that more than 200 of the participants developed pancreatic cancer. Thus, they came up with a conclusion that men who have had periodontal disease have more than 60% chance of developing pancreatic cancer compared to men who have no history of this oral health problem.

Take note, though, that while there is statistical association between the two diseases, the direct cause-effect relationship between them is yet to be established.

If you are dealing with periodontal disease and it seems to be affecting your health already, don’t hesitate to consult your dentist and physician about it. These health professionals shall help your with your health maladies, especially your dentist who can help detect periodontal disease and treat it before it can have the chance to affect other areas of your body. But it is also advised that you do your part in improving your oral health by practicing good oral hygiene.

Brushing your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, flossing, and regular professional cleaning will help minimize your risk for periodontal disease.