As scientific advances allow us to continue learning more about the human body, we’re discovering a strong link between oral health and overall wellness. In other words, being lazy about brushing your teeth and skipping the dentist can do a lot more than just give you bad breath. Studies have shown that unhealthy bacteria and inflammation within the mouth can worsen other conditions, including cardiovascular disease and endocarditis, an infection of the outer lining of the heart.
Oral Health and Testosterone Levels
Now, we are realizing there may be a connection between oral health and male testosterone levels as well. A recent study, which was conducted by Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry and published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, found a link between low testosterone and periodontal disease.
During the study, researchers analyzed five primates with lower testosterone and compared their jawbones to those of males of the same species with healthy levels. The jaws of the males with depleted testosterone levels all demonstrated signs of periodontal disease and other serious oral issues, such as jawbone loss. The jawbones from the healthy males did not demonstrate these problems.
It’s important to be aware that a variety of situations could affect your male hormones as you age. Testosterone decreases with age, and it’s also possible that hormones could change as a result of an injury or illness. According to data from the American Cancer Society, one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point. This type of cancer and its subsequent treatments could result in a loss of testosterone.
A Healthy Mouth for Healthy Hormones
The relationship between oral health, bacteria and hormones needs further study before we can assume that it goes both ways, but it’s a safe bet that maintaining a high degree of oral hygiene and keeping a close eye on the health of your mouth will lead to better health overall.
Everyone knows that it’s important to keep our mouths clean, but few people actually do a good job of it. Simply putting toothpaste in your mouth and brushing it around for a few seconds won’t actually do much to clean your teeth, even if it gives you the illusion of fresh breath. Cleaning your teeth requires actual work, which means thoroughly brushing twice a day for a few minutes each time.
It’s also wise to floss at least once a day, but much like brushing, you’ll need to make the effort to do it well. Quickly popping the floss in and out of the spaces between your teeth may loosen some of the debris, but if you take the time to scrape the sides of each tooth and carefully work your way down into the gum line, you’ll see much better results.
The occasional sugary treat is okay, but for the most part, steering clear of sugar will assist your efforts toward a healthy mouth and healthy life. Don't make the mistake of assuming that fruit is always a healthy choice. While fruit offers many nutrients, it can also be acidic and eat away at the enamel on your teeth. Eat it in moderation and focus on making healthier plant foods like leafy greens your main staples.
You probably already know this, but smoking isn’t good for you. In particular, it isn’t good for your mouth and can lead to periodontal disease. If you’re an older man who smokes, it’s not too late to quit. Talk to your doctor about cessation methods and finding support for quitting. There are plenty of resources out there to help.
A Happy Mouth for Life: Visit Your Dentist Today
If you want to stay healthy in your golden years, your best bet is to support health from all angles. Visit your doctor to have your testosterone levels tested, and visit your dentist for regular checkups and oral-health tips.
Lowry Dental is proud to offer quality dental services to the community in Boise, Idaho. We’re a family practice, and our goal is to make all of our patients feel comfortable and safe. Every patient is an individual, and from providing advanced dental implants to a quick basic cleaning, we’ll always work hard to develop a treatment protocol that’s designed for your health needs. Please contact us today for an appointment.