Treating gum disease can offer relief to men suffering from a prostate condition that makes urination difficult, new research has found. Gum disease treatment reduces symptoms of prostate inflammation, called prostatitis, a disease that inflames the gland that produces semen, the findings showed.
“This study shows that if we treat the gum disease, it can improve the symptoms of prostatitis and the quality of life for those who have the disease,” said corresponding author Nabil Bissada from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine.
Bissada explained that gum disease not only affects the mouth, but is a system-wide condition that can cause inflammation in various parts of the body. The researchers studied 27 men, 21 years old and older. Each had had a needle biopsy within the past year that confirmed inflammation of the prostate gland, and a blood test that showed elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels–possible signs of inflammation and cancer.
Researchers found 21 of the 27 participants had no or mild inflammation, but 15 had biopsy-confirmed malignancies. Two had both inflammation and a malignancy. All the men had moderate to severe gum disease, for which they received treatment. They were tested again for periodontal disease four to eight weeks later and showed significant improvement.
During the periodontal care, the men received no treatment for their prostate conditions. But even without prostate treatment, 21 of the 27 men showed decreased levels of PSA. Those with the highest levels of inflammation benefited the most from the periodontal treatment. Six participants showed no changes.
Bissada hopes to make periodontal treatment a standard part of treating prostate disease, much like cardiac patients are often encouraged to visit their dentist before undergoing heart procedures and a dental checkup is advised for women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy.