As science continues to progress, it seems that we are learning even more about just how much our various bodily systems impact our teeth and gums. Research in recent years has demonstrated that there is even a connection between certain hormones in the body and overall oral health. Take the sex hormones, for example. For some time now, researchers and dental professionals have been aware of the connection between estrogen levels and oral health. Thanks to a recent study that appeared in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, however, scientists now believe that the male hormone testosterone may also play a significant role in dental disease.
Researchers at the Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry focused on the macaque for their study, since that species of primate is considered to be a close relative to humans. The research compared the remains of five castrated male macaque monkeys with those of a group of non-castrated macaques of the same approximate age. All of the specimens involved in the study had died of natural causes.
The study focused attention on comparisons between the condition of the specimen’s mandibles, to determine whether any of the remains showed signs of periodontitis. According to the study’s findings, the results were clear and could even be observed without the use of microscopes or imaging devices. Even with the naked eye, the scientists could see clear indications of the presence of gum disease and other dental issues in the remains of the castrated macaques. Two of the five specimens showed signs of the type of receding bone structure that would have diminished bone support for the animals’ teeth.
Researchers concluded that there does appear to be a link between low testosterone and dental health, which could have far-reaching ramifications for human males. After all, since these monkeys are so closely related to human beings and experience many of the same diseases common to our species, it may be more likely than not that humans are vulnerable to these low testosterone effects as well.
What it Means for You
Though castration is not a common procedure, low testosterone is an increasingly prevalent concern. In fact, the FDA has reported that the number of patients receiving testosterone replacement therapy has increased by more than a million over the last five years alone. Given that the number of men who receive this treatment is almost certainly just a fraction of those who unknowingly suffer from low testosterone levels, many millions of male dental patients may be at risk.
If you suffer from low testosterone, be sure to let your dentist know so that your examinations and treatment can be as accurate and effective as possible. At Ebenezer Dental, we work with all our patients to ensure that medical issues like low hormone levels don’t negatively impact oral health and put our patients’ teeth and gums at greater risk. Give us a call today to learn more about how the best dentist in Midtown Manhattan can help you maintain the healthiest and most attractive teeth possible.