Could treating gum disease improve prostate health?
We’re guessing the majority of Lethbridge men wouldn’t see an obvious link between the health of their gums and their prostate health, but new research has found a connection. Reported in the journal Dentistry, researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine studied 27 men who had a confirmed inflammation of the prostate gland, and showed signs of periodontal disease.
During the study, the men received treatment for their periodontal disease, but no treatment for their prostate condition. After periodontal care, 21 of the 27 men showed a decrease in their prostate specific antigen (PSA) level – a biomarker for inflammation and cancer.
Taking periodontal research to heart
On a similar note, researchers are also busy investigating the possibility that gum disease may contribute to other general health ailments, such as heart disease.
- One theory is that bacteria that originates in your mouth can enter your bloodstream via your gums and adhere to clumps of fatty plaques, boosting their ability to block your arteries.
- Another theory involves the body’s natural response to infection – swelling. According to this line of thought, as oral bacteria travel through your body they trigger an immune response causing your blood cells to swell. This swelling could contribute to narrowed arteries and increase the risk of blood clots forming.
Read more about this research at Columbia University – Mailman School of Public Health
A simple step has the potential for bigger gains
While studies continue on both fronts, we think there’s an important message hidden beneath the layers of research: Gum disease is something to be avoided.
Even though the jury may still be out on the relationship between your oral health and your general health, it’s a well known fact that tooth brushing and flossing, along with regular professional care is important to maintain healthy teeth and gums. If it turns out that this same action may also help protect your prostate and heart health – BONUS!
Learn more about gum disease prevention
If you would like to learn more about the state of your oral health and how improving it may protect you from a variety of diseases, please schedule a consultation with Lethbridge dentist Dr Karstan Lachman.