Monday, May 3, 2010

Periodontal Disease and Prostatitis

Periodontitis produces high inflammation levels and has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Periodontitis or gum disease is caused by plaque accumulation on the teeth and around the gums. This plaque build-up will eventually harden, in as little as two to three days time, and remain on the teeth and around one’s gum line. The plaque consists of bacteria that cause the gums to become inflamed, to swell, to become sore or tender, and when gingivitis sets in, one’s teeth can bleed when touched or brushed.

Periodontitis is an extreme form of gum disease that can harm gingival tissues, that can injure or harm bone, and that can loosen teeth and cause them to fall out over time.

Prostatitis is a disease that affects one’s prostate gland and that can result in pain during urination, significant groin discomfort, abdominal pain, lower back pain, discomfort in the perineum, and penile and testicular pain as well. Prostatitis is also associated with the onset of a high fever, gastrointestinal difficulties, and chills in some cases too.

The general causes cited for the onset of prostatitis include immune system difficulties, disorders of the nervous system, emotional stress, injury to the prostate, and infection.

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and University Hospitals Case Medical Center report initial results from a small sample that inflammation from gum disease and prostate problems just might be linked.

Thirty-five men with mild to severe prostatitis, who had undergone needle biopsies and were found to have inflammation and in some patients, malignancies were selected for the study.

The researchers compared two markers: the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) used to measure inflammation levels in prostate disease, and clinical attachment level (CAL) of the gums and teeth, which can be an indicator for periodontitis.

A PSA elevation of 4.0 ng/ml in the blood can be a sign of inflammation or malignancy. Patients with healthy prostate glands have lower than 4.0ng/ml levels. A CAL number greater than 2.7 mm indicates periodontitis.

The participants were divided into two groups: those with high PSA levels for moderate or severe prostatitis or a malignancy and those with PSA levels below 4 ng/ml. All had not had dental work done for at least three months and were given an examination to measure the gum health.

The results showed that subjects having co-morbidity of CAL ≥2.7 mm and moderate/severe prostatitis have higher PSA levels than those with either condition alone.

In essence, when a man has periodontal disease he can worsen a condition like prostatitis and that gum disease contributes to the severity of prostatitis.

Gum disease is absolutely preventable if a person partakes of excellent oral hygiene practices. If gum disease occurs, the condition can be treated too, and the sooner such a condition is treated the better.

Getting quality care for gum disease cannot only vastly improve one’s oral health, but it can reduce the likelihood that one will develop complications with heart conditions or, as it is the case with men, it can minimize the severity of prostatitis and/or help prevent its onset.


Joshi et al. Association Between Periodontal Disease and Prostate Specific Antigen Levels in Chronic Prostatitis Patients. Journal of Periodontology, 2010; 100409084221025 DOI:

World Dental Org


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