According to a new study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, men with erectile dysfunction (ED) are three times more likely to have gum disease than men who do not have ED.Turkish researchers found that 53% of the male patients with ED had severe gum disease (chronic periodontitis) compared with 23% who did not have ED.Inflammation can spread from the gums and harm other parts of the body. Gum disease if left untreated, can lead to loss of your tooth. These bacteria can also get into the bloodstream and damage blood vessels, and because erectile problems can be caused by impaired blood flow in the penis, poor dental hygiene can be associated with ED. About 10% of all UK men will at one time suffer from erectile dysfunction.“Even though it’s a small, preliminary study, there’s enough suggestion that periodontal disease is a significant risk factor that it begs more investigation,” says Dr. Nancy L. Newhouse, President of The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP).Seven million Britons do not clean their teeth regularly, a survey by the British Dental Health Foundation revealed this month. Faithful brushing can keep bacteria that trigger inflammation at bay, and regular visits to the dentist can detect periodontitis. That’s something that most men aren’t taking advantage of; AAP’s journal Periodontology found women are twice as likely as men to get regular dental check-ups.Many men are very embarrassed at the thought of talking about such a very personal problem. There are obviously lots of causes of ED, some of which may be psychological but if you are unable to get an erection, after seeing your GP if might be worth seeing your dentist to check for gum disease. Get healthy gums before your partner finds someone else who does!