With all the recent scientific studies connecting periodontal disease with various systemic health problems like heart disease, alzheimer’s, and inflammatory diseases, there is a stronger argument than ever before to stay on top of your dental hygiene.
Need another reason? Well, if you’re a man, there’s a chance that periodontitis may also be linked with prostatitis.
Prostatitis means inflammation of the prostate. It can cause painful urination or difficulty urination, and worse– it can be a precursor to prostate cancer. Mild to severe inflammation of the prostate is not wildly uncommon for many men, especially if you fall into a higher risk category:
- Young to middle-aged
- History of a urinary infection
- History of an STD
- Family history of prostate problems
- Chronic dehydration
- Chronic stress
In short, prostatitis is an extremely uncomfortable condition that could potentially lead to even bigger problems. Now, dental researchers have produced study results that show a reduction in prostate inflammation following periodontitis treatment.
How did they do it?
Scientists at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Dental Medicine teamed up with the Departments of Urology and Pathology at University Hospital’s Case Medical Center to bring together periodontitis with prostatitis.
In their study, 27 men were selected who had shown both prostate inflammation (found via biopsy), elevated Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), and moderate to severe gum inflammation (found on dental exam). The men were then treated for periodontitis and re-examined at four and eight weeks.
The results were startling. All but six of the men were found to have both improved gum health, but also improved prostate health. Remember – they received no treatment for prostate inflammation throughout the trial. The men with the most severe conditions also appeared to show the most improvement, which is certainly a hopeful outcome for dire cases.
What’s the next step?
As is expected with any study, scientists are now focused on replicating the results to ensure accuracy. The researchers hope that if the study findings remain unchanged, medical professionals will have another tool in fighting both gum and prostate disease. Patients presenting with periodontitis, for example, should be advised to seek prostate screening by their dentist.
It’s fascinating to learn more about the interconnectedness of our body symptoms, and from a dental health perspective, it serves to emphasize even more the critical importance of sound dental health— it may protect you from a non-dental disease!
Regular dental appointments with your downtown Portland dentist are a key factor in dental hygiene. Call to schedule yours today!