We don’t need to tell you that teeth are a major contributor to your appearance and attractiveness. One revealing study used digitally altered photographs to test if the appearance of teeth changed how attractive people looked. The results confirmed that white teeth are more attractive than yellow discoloured teeth. No surprise there!
But teeth and oral health plays a much bigger part in your life than just how much better you might look with whiter teeth. Poor oral health is linked to various health issues, including heart disease and Alzheimer’s. And while that is enough reason to make sure you visit the dentist every six months, new evidence has indicated chronic periodontitis (gum disease) might cause erectile dysfunction. So before you start taking Viagra, maybe you need to visit your dentist!
Research has previously shown that the bacteria caused by gum disease can enter the bloodstream, leading to a higher risk of heart disease. Now there is evidence that this bacteria can also damage the small vessels in the penis, which could be the reason why men with gum disease may be more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.
5 Common Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Not being able to “get it up” is a condition that affects most men at some time in their lives, and the cause of erectile dysfunction can be psychological or physical, such as stress or smoking. Erectile dysfunction also becomes more common with age, and some medications can also cause it.
Five health conditions and diseases that can contribute to erectile dysfunction include:
- Heart disease
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
- Prostate cancer
Mental Health and Erectile Dysfunction
Another well-known cause of erectile dysfunction is mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. Research has suggested that almost 25% of men with erectile dysfunction also have anxiety disorders. Other studies have shown a significant association between erectile dysfunction and depression.
7 Ways to Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
The good news is you can make some simple changes to your lifestyle that can help prevent erectile dysfunction and many other health problems.
- Diet. Avoiding food high in fat can help lower cholesterol levels and prevent damage to the arteries that carry blood to the penis when erect.
- Exercise. Increasing activity levels is effective in improving erectile dysfunction in physically inactive men.
- Monitor stress and anxiety. Both are known factors that can lead to a reduction in testosterone and an increase in cortisol, contributing to your ability to get or maintain an erection.
- Stop smoking. Smoking narrows your penile blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the penis, which can cause erectile dysfunction.
- Reduce alcohol consumption. Alcohol can decrease testosterone production and interferes with neurotransmitters that carry messages from the brain when sexually aroused, leading to erectile dysfunction.
- Check Your BMI. Your body mass index (BMI) is a measure of healthy weight, and being overweight has been shown to increase erectile dysfunction. You can use a BMI calculator to work out your BMI.
- Oral health. A dental check-up every six months reduces the potential of developing gum disease, which has been linked to erectile dysfunction.
When to Go to the Doctor
You may be tempted to just order Viagra online, but as erectile dysfunction lasting longer than two weeks can indicate a serious health condition, buying Viagra online can be risky. Don’t be embarrassed to speak with your doctor; you are not the first man to have erectile dysfunction!
When to Go to the Dentist
After consulting with your doctor, if you have any signs of gum disease, then you should visit your dentist. Even if your teeth and gums appear to be healthy, if it has been over a year since you last went to the dentist, it is time to book an appointment. Regular bruising and flossing are not always sufficient to prevent plaque and tartar build-up. And a scale and polish at the dentist are also one of the best ways to remove stains and get whiter teeth.