The connection between gums and prostate was first established in 2010, when a research team at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, discovered that prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels were much higher in a group of 25 men who had tooth plaque and gingivitis, including gum bleeding.
They published their findings in the Journal of Periodontology, concluding that somehow, through an unidentified mechanism, bacteria from gum disease inflamed the prostate, producing moderate to severe prostatitis.
Subsequent research confirmed this connection. A 2015 study in the journal, Dentistry, for example, documented how non-surgical treatments of periodontal disease (deep cleaning of plaque beneath the gum lines, by a dental hygienist) lowers PSA levels in the blood and improves prostate symptoms.
Research continues into why this connection exists between prostatitis and periodontitis. One theory is that both conditions involve similar types of bacteria producing inflammatory cytokines. Once released into the blood, bacteria from the gums find a suitable new home in the prostate, where their cousins already reside and welcome them.
A lesson from this research is that men with prostatitis and high circulating PSA levels may derive benefit from first having their teeth cleaned, below the gum line, before they resort to a drastic medical intervention, such as a prostate biopsy.
Good oral health may be the best prevention of prostate problems.
“Association Between Periodontal Disease and Prostate-Specific Antigen Levels in Chronic Prostatitis Patients.” Joshi N. Et al. Journal of Periodontology. June 2010.
“Periodontal Treatment Improves Prostate Symptoms and Lowers Serum PSA in Men with High PSA and Chronic Periodontis.” Alwithani N. Et al. Dentistry. February 2015.
*DISCLAIMER: The medical information in this article, on our website and on all of our social media sites, is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.