Remember how at Parker Dentistry Facial Rejuventation and Wellness we are always talking about how your oral health affects your overall health? Well, a recent study discovered that there is actually a link between certain types of cancer and periodontal disease. “Researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore used data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, which included comprehensive dental exams from 7466 participants from Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi and North Carolina. Subjects were followed from the late 1990s until 2012. The data showed that 1648 new cancer cases were diagnosed during the follow-up period.”
Let’s back track a little first and talk about what periodontal disease is and how you get it.
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in dental plague. “Interestingly, it is your body's response to the bacterial infection that causes most of the problems. In an effort to eliminate the bacteria, the cells of your immune system release substances that cause inflammation and destruction of the gums, periodontal ligament or alveolar bone. This leads to swollen, bleeding gums, signs of gingivitis (the earliest stage of periodontal disease), and loosening of the teeth, a sign of severe periodontitis (the advanced stage of disease).”
When your oral hygiene routine is subpar and or you don’t keep up with your biannual teeth cleanings, your risk of developing periodontal disease is very high. Smoking, misaligned teeth, grinding, stress, certain medications, certain types of chronic ailments, and genetics also play into your risk factor. This preventable disease has also been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory disease.
Now, on top of the fact that you could lose your teeth, develop heart disease, or have a stroke from having periodontal disease, but you might also develop cancer. The study found that there was a significant increase in the risk of developing lung and colon cancer in particular in patients who also suffered from severe periodontal disease. Some aspects of our health are out of our control, but fortunately a great deal is within out control; and your oral hygiene and health is definitely one of those things.
If you find that your gums are bleeding when you brush or floss, talk to Dr. Steve or Dr. Blake during your next visit, as this is an early sign of periodontal disease. It is far easier to a prevent disease than it is to cure one. Preventative healthcare is the best approach to your health and well-being and by preventing periodontal disease, you are helping to prevent a lot of other diseases in your future.