We all know that we should take care of our teeth. It seems like every day there is a report of research connecting the health of our mouth with our overall health. But it’s not just our teeth we need to take care of, it’s also our gums! Gum disease in particular has been repeatedly linked to a number of common health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and cancer prompting us to wonder, can gum disease cause cancer?
The Gum Disease – Cancer Connection
Recent research has shown some kind of connection between gum disease and cancer.
- In August 2017, a study of almost 66,000 women found those with a history of gum disease also had an increased incidence of cancer of the esophagus, lung cancer, gall bladder cancer, melanoma and breast cancer.
- In late 2017 research out of Finland suggested the bacteria that cause periodontal disease may also be the cause of certain cancers, specifically pancreatic cancer.
- Earlier this year, more research showed links to cancer in individuals with a history of gum disease, this time linking to lung and colorectal cancers.
To date, no studies have shown evidence that gum disease causes cancer.
While we don’t know the exact relationship between gum disease and cancer, controlling the bacteria found in cases of gum disease, as well as stopping smoking, eating healthy, exercising, and avoiding alcohol are highly recommended for lowering your risk of cancer.
Addressing Gum Disease for Cancer Prevention
Gum disease can be prevented with good oral care practices. This includes, based on the American Dental Association recommendations:
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Floss your teeth daily
- Rinse with an ADA approved mouthwash daily
- Chew sugar free gum between meals
- See your dentist at least twice a year
As the connection between gum disease and other diseases grows, there is no better time to begin, continue, or recommit to a healthy oral health routine. Begin today by scheduling an appointment with your dentist to ensure you are doing all you can to prevent gum disease and reduce your risk for cancer and other illness.
Wanting to be proactive in your oral and overall health? Needing to get back on track? Contact a PERFECT TEETH dentist today by going online or by calling us at 844-717-9588 to schedule an appointment.
Reviewed by PERFECT TEETH Periodontist Douglas Hardy, DMD MHS