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Gum Disease Tied to Higher Cancer Risk

Brushing and flossing your teeth isn’t just good for your mouth.  It may also help avoid cancer.  New research suggests people with bad gums might be at higher risk of developing certain types of cancer.

A history of gum disease appears to increase the risk of stomach cancer by 52% and throat cancer by 43%, according to data from two major long-term health studies.  People who’d lost two or more teeth also had an increased risk of cancer.  33% for stomach cancer and 42% for throat cancer compared with people who never lost a tooth.

Overall, people with any history of gum disease had a 59% increased risk of throat cancer compared with people who’d never had periodontal disease, regardless of whether they’d lost teeth or not.  There were some differences when looking at stomach cancer.  People with gum disease who lost no teeth had a 50% increased risk of stomach cancer.  Those who lost one or more teeth had a 68% increased risk.

The cancer risk related to gum disease in this study was independent of tobacco use, which means smokers with poor oral health might face an even high risk of these gastrointestinal cancers.  It’s also possible the longer you have bad gums; the more likely your cancer risk will increase.

If you have a history of bad gums and want to reduce your potential cancer risk, you should see the dentist regularly, taking good care of your oral health, learning the signs and symptoms of cancer and undergoing all age-appropriate cancer screenings.

Researchers have also linked gum disease to several serious medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.  If you have a periodontal or dental implant condition, it’s important to receive treatment before it becomes a dental emergency. At the Havrilla Center for Periodontics & Dental Implants located in Broomall, PA, attending to your comfort and concerns is our first priority.  Our mission is to provide you with the highest quality of periodontal and dental implant care in a warm and friendly environment.