Gum disease is associated with many serious health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. Gum disease and tooth loss have been associated with early death and advanced dementia. These seem like very strong connections.
Less strong is the association between gum disease and low testosterone levels. A new review of the evidence shows that we just can’t say for sure whether testosterone levels are impacted by gum disease.
A Systematic Review
To see how strong the connection was between gum disease and testosterone levels, researchers looked at all studies examining the relationship between testosterone levels and chronic gum disease. Unfortunately, as of June 2016, this only amounted to 8 studies. The studies looked at testosterone levels in different places:
- Seven studies looked at testosterone in blood
- Two looked at testosterone in saliva
- One looked at testosterone in gum tissue
Three quarters of the studies (6) found that gum disease was associated with low testosterone levels, but one of the studies showed that gum disease was associated with high testosterone levels. The final study showed there was no association between gum disease and testosterone levels.
A Variety of Studies Leads to Inconsistent Results
The vast majority of studies seemed to indicate that gum disease might be associated with low testosterone levels. But researchers conducting the review were not convinced. One of the problems is that the studies were so variable that it was impossible to aggregate their results. Some of the studies were very small, with as few as 24 participants, while others were much larger, over 1800 men. One study was just focused on men between the ages of 19 and 21, while another study looked only at men between the ages of 66 and 95.
But the biggest problem with the studies was that they didn’t account for the many confounders that influence testosterone levels and gum disease. Some of the confounders they thought needed to be accounted for were: age, genetics, smoking, diabetes, and obesity. As a result, the data wasn’t strong enough to make conclusions.
Cardiovascular Health and Sexual Health
While the connection between testosterone and gum disease seems unclear, much more clear is the relationship between gum disease and men’s sexual health. Erectile dysfunction is often related to cardiovascular problems, which are strongly impacted by chronic gum disease. Chronic gum disease seems to increase the risk of erectile dysfunction. Beyond that, it can also impact the quality of a man’s sperm.
That’s why getting regular dental checkups should be on every man’s to-do list. This can help you remain healthy and fit for all your favorite pastimes as you get older. If you’re overdue for a dental checkup in The Woodlands, please call (281) 367-5559 today for an appointment with Dr. Scott Young, Purveyor of Premier Dentistry