Every month —more and more studies linking severe periodontitis (gum disease) with cancer.
The most recent study was huge, including more than 7,000 individuals from Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi and North Carolina who were studied between the late 1990s and 2012. The report, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, showed that individuals with severe gum disease had a 24% greater risk of developing cancer as compared to individuals with little or no gum disease. The impact of smoking was accounted for, since we know that smoking raises the risk of lung and colon cancers, and individuals who smoke are statistically more likely to get gum disease.
According to Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the American Cancer Society (as reported in Reuters Health), “What this report does is continue to support the idea that gum disease is not just a matter of what happens to our teeth.”
While this study, and all the others before it, have not proven that gum disease actually causes cancer, and the exact link is not entirely clear, it adds to more and more evidence associating cancer risk and periodontitis.
In its mildest form, gum disease, also known as gingivitis, is REVERSIBLE with proper dental care. While the main cause of periodontal disease stems from dental plaque, other contributing factors include poor nutrition, disease, smoking and even stress. It’s not to late to take care of your teeth!