It's long been known that not brushing your teeth will cause trouble with the fairer sex, but a new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine has found another reason to keep your chompers sparkling. On top of yellow teeth and bad breath, not regularly brushing your teeth makes you three times more likely to experience erectile dysfunction.
Researchers at Inonu University in Turkey examined the gums of 160 men aged between 30 and 40, half with diagnosed erectile dysfunction and half without. Of the men with erectile dysfunction, 53 per cent had inflamed gums compared with 23 per cent of the control group.
Even adjusting for other factors (age, BMI, income and education level), men with severe periodontal disease were three times more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction than men with healthy gums.
"Many studies have reported that chronic periodontitis may induce vascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease, which have been linked with erection problems," said lead study author Dr Faith Oguz.
However, researchers at China's Luzhou Medical College have come up with a different theory: periodontitis inhibits the body's ability to create the enzyme eNOS, which is involved in achieving an erection.
So . . . no ENOS, no lift-off.
But is periodontitis a causal factor or just a symptom related to erectile dysfunction? According to Dr Leonard Gormella, professor and chairman of the Department of Urology at Thomas Jefferson University, more research of human inflammatory issues is needed before any conclusive links can be made.
“Since periodontal disease is considered an inflammatory disorder, it may play a role in the progression of ED,” he said.
Your move: it hasn't been conclusively proven that reaching for your toothbrush more regularly will stop you needing to reach for those little blue pills on your bedside table next time performance anxiety strikes, but whether you're worried about bad breath or stage fright, keeping those pearly whites nice and clean certainly can't hurt.
Want another reason to keep your smile glowing? Learn how your smile can make you more presuasive with the opposite sex.