Prostate problems affect around 8% of the population, but is there a connection between prostatitis and gum disease? Researchers at Western Reserve University suggest that inflammation caused by gum disease may actually be linked to prostate problems.
Scientists have already linked gum disease to diabetes, heart disease, and even rheumatoid arthritis. This precedent shows that periodontitis goes beyond the gum line. And, based on this small study, the evidence seems to support the theory. Men who suffer from severe prostatitis also tend to show signs of periodontal disease.
Treating Gum Disease Reduces Prostate Symptoms
Even more incredible than the connection between prostatitis and periodontitis is the fact that treating gum disease has been shown to reduce prostate symptoms. The Case Western Reserve University of Dental Medicine, along with the Departments of Urology and Pathology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center worked together to understand the connection.
What is Prostatitis?
Prostatitis is typically caused when inflammation affects the prostate gland, making it difficult or painful to urinate. In addition, it can cause pain and discomfort in the groin, pelvic area, and genitals.
What is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is gum disease. It’s an infection along and under the gum line that damages the soft tissue around the teeth. It can ultimately lead to tooth loss if not treated.
Reducing Prostate Symptoms with Dental Care
Research shows that treating gum disease also improves the symptoms of prostatitis and improves the quality of life for the patient. This is because gum disease doesn’t only affect the mouth. In fact, it’s a system-wide condition that contributes to inflammation throughout the body.
The study involved the examination and treatment of 27 men aged 21 and older. All of the men had moderate to severe gum disease. The men were then treated for gum disease. During this time, they were not treated for prostatitis. However, even without prostate treatment, 21 out of the 27 men showed improvement in inflammation not only in their gum tissue but in their prostate as well.
How Do You Treat Gum Disease?
Treatment for gum disease varies depending on the severity of the problem. In many cases, scaling and proper dental care can help immensely. In other cases, it may be beneficial to consider root planing and/or antibiotics.
Scaling removes the tartar and bacteria from the surface of the tooth and beneath the gum line. It is generally performed by a dentist or dental hygienist using dental instruments, a laser, or an ultrasonic device.
Root planing is a process to smooth the root surfaces. This discourages additional tartar and bacteria buildup while removing bacterial byproducts that cause inflammation. These byproducts also slow healing and prevent gum reattachment so removing them is key to treating gum disease that has progressed this far.
Either topical or oral antibiotics can help manage and control bacterial infections. Topical antibiotics come in the form of a mouth rinse, or your dentist may insert an antibiotic gel into the pockets between your gums and teeth. Oral antibiotics can work to eliminate bacteria as well.
In severe cases of gum disease, your dentist may recommend surgery. Surgeries can include:
- Pocket Reduction Surgery
- Soft Tissue Grafts
- Bone Grafts
- Guided Tissue Regeneration
- Tissue-Stimulating Proteins
Preventing Gum Disease
The best thing you can do for yourself, and your mouth is to do your best to prevent gum disease from occurring. Proper dental care includes:
- Brush your teeth at least twice per day
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that you replace every three months
- Consider using an electric toothbrush
- Floss daily
- Use an approved mouthwash daily
- Get professional dental cleanings every six months or more often if your dentist recommends
- Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco
Your oral health plays an important role in your overall health. It’s important to take proper care of your teeth, gums, and mouth. Work with a general dentist or preventative dentist to keep your mouth happy and healthy.