The American Dental Association (ADA) just reported on a new scientific study linking periodontitis, or gum disease to cancer.
In early January 2018, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported the correlation between unhealthy gums and an unhealthy body.
This article looks at the study and the idea that your oral health really is your health.
Gum Disease and Cancer
Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. It is caused by a bacterial infection that damages the lining of the gum, and the soft tissue and bone surrounding teeth.
Science Daily reported on a long-term study, released just this year, involving a scientific collaboration between Tufts University School of Medicine, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Kimmel Cancer Center.
The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute followed 7,466 participants from a four-state atherosclerosis risk group from the 1990s to 2012. Out of this group, 1,648 developed cancer. Researchers found a 24% likelihood that people with severe gum disease would also develop cancer. For those in the study with no teeth – which can signal periodontitis – the risk increased to 28%.
The study also found that those who had severe gum disease also had:
- 80% had a higher risk of colon cancer.
- Double the risk of developing lung cancer.
- For new smokers, their risk of doubling was two times as high.
- There is a small increase in the risk of pancreatic cancer in these patients.
Interestingly, the data for people who had never smoked cigarettes was the same as for those that smoked. This correlated what dentists have said all along – your oral health is important to your overall health.
While this is a breakthrough study, and more research needs to be done, it certainly illustrates the connection between bacteria in the mouth and bacteria in the body. Prior research has even shown that the tissue samples from patients with colorectal cancer contain the same bacteria found in the patient’s mouth.
Your Las Vegas Dentist and Oral Health
We cannot stress this enough; take care of your body and it will take care of you. Are you doing enough right now to take care of your oral health? When was the last time you had a professional tooth cleaning?
Dr. Hadley and his team are standing by to help improve not only your smile but also your overall health. If you’re like most of us, you have too many responsibilities and not enough time to be sick. Good oral hygiene includes flossing daily, brushing at least twice a day with a good fluoride toothpaste, and rinsing with mouthwash. It also includes bi-annual dental exams and teeth cleaning. No matter how poor your health is today, we can help you get back on track toward health. Our proven processes are gentle and thorough, so no matter how bad your oral hygiene is currently, it doesn’t mean that you cannot change it.
Contact us to get started on a series of preventive steps that will keep your teeth and body healthier. We can help you take care of you.