The Surprising Link Between Gum Disease and Cancer
A growing body of research in the scientific community has found a link between gum disease and the prevalence of certain cancers. There has already been proven evidence about the link between gum disease and heart disease, but scientists have discovered a link between cancer risk and gum disease as well. Perhaps now more than ever, it’s important to take care and be aware of your oral health and to schedule regular appointments to the dentist every 6 months. Below are a few of the facts on the connection found between cancer and gum disease:
Advanced gum disease in men leads to a 63% higher incidence of pancreatic cancer
The worst cases of gum disease in men are correlated to a dramatically higher risk of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, according to a Harvard study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Preventative care to avoid gum disease in the first place is the most important step you can take in protecting both your oral health and your overall health.
Even lung cancer poses a threat to non-smokers with gum disease
Simply having moderate gum disease increases your risk of getting cancer by 14%, according to a research report in the prestigious Lancet Oncology. Even lung cancer, traditionally thought to be correlated largely with smokers, can occur among non-smokers with gum disease. The increased risk is a surprising 33%.
Blood and kidney cancer incidences rise
The risk of blood cancer, such as Leukemia, is 33% higher for those with severe gum disease, and kidney cancer risk is a whopping 50%. Chronic advanced gum disease is even worse, and leads to a four-fold increase in head and neck cancers. This damage increases as bone loss occurs around teeth.
A disturbed biofilm allows bad bacteria to circulate in your blood
Your biofilm is the community of billions of bacteria in your mouth. When you are healthy, the bacteria helps to sustain and support you. However, if it becomes disturbed, your biofilm can send pathogens through your bloodstream to cause complications in other parts of your body. This eventually weakens your immune system if not treated.
Of course, there are easy ways to prevent such disastrous outcomes. Remembering to take care of your oral health as well as your overall health is an important and effective way to decrease your personal cancer risk. Remember:
- Preventative care is important in tackling and treating gum disease. Remember to schedule your biannual visits to the dentist. You may need to set up additional appointments should your dentist recommend you, or if you have any illnesses that need to be cleared up. Also, keep in mind that preventative care is usually the most affordable option in keeping diseases at bay.
- Brush and floss regularly to keep gums and teeth clean. We know you’ve heard this a million times before, but brushing and flossing really is as crucial as dentists and health professionals say it is. When mouth-washing, try to look for a mouthwash that is alcohol-free, as alcohol can disturb the good bacteria in your mouth that is there to help keep you healthy.
- Manage stress through exercise. Runners generally have a low incidence of gum disease, and researchers believe it is because exercise promotes a healthy immune system and advanced circulation throughout the body. Running and other cardio helps relieve stress and its debilitating symptoms, such as lower saliva counts and clenching and grinding of teeth.