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The Connection Between Gum Disease & Cancer (blog)

No matter your age, proper oral hygiene is essential, not just for aesthetic purposes. A healthy mouth and a healthy body are closely related. If you don’t take good care of your teeth and gums, the rest of your body may pay the ultimate price.

Dr. Nasrin Sadeghi and the rest of our friendly staff at First Dental Associates are experienced in the treatment and prevention of gum disease. We know just how important it is to take good care of your teeth.

We encourage you to learn more about the connection between gum disease and cancer, so you can better understand why it’s so important to practice good oral hygiene habits.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is characterized by inflammation of the gum line. If left untreated, gum disease can progress and cause damage to your teeth and gums. The three stages of gum disease are gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.

When you develop gingivitis, you will experience red, inflamed gums that bleed easily. Fortunately, you can reverse the effects of gingivitis with daily brushing and flossing as well as regular checkups with your dentist.

If gingivitis isn’t caught early enough, it can progress to periodontitis. Periodontitis can cause serious damage to your gums, surrounding tissues, and bone.

One common symptom of periodontitis is gaps that are created between your gums and teeth. Bacteria can get into those spaces and begin to break down the bone and ligaments that support your teeth. Your teeth can then become loose or even fall out if not treated soon enough.

If the damage is bad enough, we may even have to remove your teeth from the affected area. As if that isn’t bad enough, if not treated properly or quickly enough, gum disease can increase your risk of developing cancer.

Gum Disease & Cancer

Cancer is the word everyone seems to hate the most. It’s a terrifying and devastating disease. While we may not know exactly what causes cancer, we do know a lot about the factors that increase your risk of developing the disease.

According to research published in The Lancet Oncology, men with a history of periodontal disease have a 14 percent higher risk of developing cancer than those without a history of periodontal disease.

It’s important to note that the overall risk was 14 percent, but several cancers showed an increased risk of 30 percent or more. Men with a history of periodontal disease had a 30 percent increased risk of white blood cell cancers, 36 percent increased risk of lung cancer, a 49 percent increased risk of kidney cancer, and a 54 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer.

Additionally, research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention showed that women who had a history of periodontal disease were 14 percent more likely to have developed cancer than those without a history of periodontal disease. Included was an increased risk for breast, gallbladder, lung, and melanoma skin cancer.

Women with a history of gum disease were three times more likely to develop esophageal cancer.

Sure, it’s a lot of information to take in, but the main idea is that a history of gum disease increases your chances of developing cancer. That’s not good.

How To Prevent Gum Disease

Fortunately, there are numerous steps you can take to prevent gum disease and avoid that increased cancer risk. The most important and effective way to prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease is to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. You should use an antibacterial toothpaste or mouthwash to kill bacteria and prevent the buildup of plaque.

You should also maintain regular appointments with your dentist for cleanings and exams. When you come to see us, we can spot any troublesome areas and work to prevent any potential issues that could occur.

Keep Your Mouth & Your Body Healthy

At First Dental Associates, we are passionate about working hard to help you maintain good oral health. We won’t judge you, no matter what your situation. We just want to see you happy and healthy!

Call our Reading, MA office today to schedule a consultation or teeth cleaning. Call (781) 435-7290 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!

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