A recent study links an increased risk of certain types of cancer in postmenopausal women who have gum disease.
The greatest risk increase – more than three times more likely – was for esophageal cancer in older women with gum disease. Overall, there is a 14% higher risk of developing any type of cancer in this group.
Smoking and gum disease are a particularly bad combination. Among women who had gum disease and also smoked, there is a higher risk of breast, lung and gallbladder cancer.
But even women who never smoked have increased risk of some cancers, including melanoma, if they have periodontal disease.
Based on this study and other research, experts believe that gum disease may be a marker for overall health. Bacteria in the oral cavity may cause local and systemic inflammation when it enters the bloodstream through oral tissues or reaches other sites in the body through inhalation or ingestion.
Although more research is needed to accurately pinpoint the connection, researchers agree that eliminating gum disease may reduce the risk of cancer.
Watch for the Signs of Gum Disease
When plaque and tartar remain on the teeth, gingivitis can result. The signs of this mild stage of gum disease include red and swollen gums that bleed easily. Good oral care including daily brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings can reverse gingivitis and restore your gums to health.
Untreated gingivitis can worsen to periodontitis, or periodontal disease. Here you’ll see the gums pull away from the teeth and the resulting pockets can become infected. Without professional treatment, the bone, gums and tissue supporting the teeth are destroyed and there is a real danger of tooth loss.
- Persistent bad breath
- Swollen and red gums
- Tender and bleeding gums
- Loose or sensitive teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Receding gums
Let Us Know If You Have Questions on Any Aspect of Oral Health Care
Dr. Lorraine Burio of Candlewood Dental Care has been treating and educating patients for over twenty-five years. Our office serves the New Fairfield, New Milford, Danbury, and Sherman areas of CT and Pawling, Patterson and Putnam Lake of New York. You can call us at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here.