Gum Disease Linked to Cancer
A study led by the University of Buffalo has recently released results that show that older women who have had gum disease are at a higher risk for developing gallbladder and esophageal cancer. In the recent years, several studies have come out linking periodontal health to health in other areas of the body. As part of this study, women with a history of periodontal disease had a 14 percent higher risk of developing cancer of any kind. This specific study focuses on women, but the link has been found between gum disease and cancer in all demographics.
Chronic inflammation has been implicated as a factor in both gallbladder and esophageal cancer. The risk associated with esophageal cancer and periodontal disease are highest. It seems to be because the esophagus is physically so nearby the mouth tissues that the inflammation can easily affect the area. Cancer of the esophagus is one of the most deadly forms of cancer. Periodontal bacteria promote inflammation like the puffy, swollen gums during the early stages of gingivitis. Treating gum disease early can mean lowering your risk for developing cancer.
As we get older, our mouths age. Saliva slows down in production creating a dry environment for bacteria to thrive. Thriving bacteria increase the risk for gum disease and tooth decay. The study shows that postmenopausal women are more likely to have a link between periodontal disease and cancer, and it is likely because the advanced age worsens the prevalence and the effects of gum disease.
Prevention is important. A habitual routine of effective brushing and flossing can lower your risk of gum disease. Regular visits to your dentist for checkups and cleanings can ensure that gum disease can be spotted and treated early. The longer inflammation lingers in your body without treatment the more likely it is for you to develop severe health problems.