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Brush your teeth for better sex!

What do gum disease and erectile dysfunction have in common? A lot more than you think.

International dental societies warned  that impotence and cardiovascular diseases in some cases has been linked to periodontitis (gum disease) and poor oral hygiene.

Periodontitis is the serious and advanced stage of gum disease which includes bone loss. Periodontitis is irreversible. The gum tissue and bone that surround and support your teeth could become seriously damaged and the teeth affected could become loose and fall out. Periodontitis occurs when the early stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis, is left untreated.

“Blockage of the smaller arteries in the main parts of the body such as the penis comes about as a result of penile arteries becoming blocked by plaque build-up on the artery walls or a clot (thrombus) lodging in the smaller arteries of the organ having broken away from the plaque build-up in the main arteries of the body,” said Professor Londi Shangase, the head of Wits University’s department of oral medicine and periodontology.

About 52 percent of men aged 40 and above suffer from erectile dysfunction, Shangase explained, adding that the clogging of arteries that supply blood to the penis is one of the reasons for the dysfunction.

“Blood flow makes it possible for a man to be aroused. During arousal, blood vessels become engorged and the penis increases in size and hardens. However, when the arteries are clogged, blood flow diminishes. Men with peripheral artery problems end up with erectile dysfunction.

The head of the Wits department of oral medicine and periodontology, Professor Londi Shangase, links gum disease and erectile dysfunction.

This is one of a number of recent studies linking dental health with heart health. While at first glance it might appear surprising – and researchers are quick to point out that no causality has been established – I think a general observation about our Western perspective on health can easily be made. It’s not so much cause-and-effect as connection. The Western approach, while radical in its own way (I’m talking about life-saving surgery techniques and the advent of drugs like penicillin), also has its flaws. Treatment tends to focus on parts, not the whole, and care tends to emphasize tinkering, not prevention.

To help fight gum disease and heart disease in one fell swoop, use these tips to get the most out of that little white string:

  • Be sure to slide the floss under your gum line and to gently curl it around each tooth as you floss.
  • Floss gently, but don’t quit because your gums bleed. Eventually, they will become stronger and bleed less with regular flossing.
  • Use fresh floss for each tooth juncture.
  • If you find it difficult to manipulate floss with your fingers, purchase dental-floss picks or holders that anchor sections of floss for you in a small, U-shaped plastic device.
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