Periodontal disease found to increase risk for several types of cancer
(NaturalHealth365) Recent research has revealed the pivotal role of oral microbial ecosystems in both oral and overall health, with a particular focus on their connection to cancer. Scientists found that specific oral bacteria are critical in the pathogenesis of diseases, including periodontal diseases, various cancers, and diabetes.
This is a significant development as it aligns with previous research by the State University of New York at Buffalo, which found links between periodontal disease and breast cancer, esophageal cancer, and gallbladder cancer, particularly among post-menopausal women. These studies underscore the crucial role of oral health in influencing the risk of various cancers, both in men and women and at different stages of life.
Older adults at much higher risk for periodontal disease
According to researchers, older women with periodontal disease (gum disease) may be at a higher risk for cancer. A collaborative study by the State University of New York at Buffalo, University of Texas School of Dentistry in Houston, TX, and other U.S. institutions found links between periodontal disease and breast, esophageal, and gallbladder cancer.
Post-menopausal women were found to be at a higher risk for these cancer types if they had gum disease, but periodontal disease can increase your risk for cancer and other health problems at any age.
Periodontal disease is characterized by an inflammation of the gums due to a chronic infection in this area. Gum disease is particularly common in older adults, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stating that 68 percent of persons aged 65 and over are afflicted by this oral health condition.
While gum disease is already known to burden the immune system, lower organ health, and negatively affect the gut microbiome, until recently, there has never been any research conducted regarding gum disease and the increased general risk of cancer.
For the study, the team of researchers looked at periodontal disease within a cohort of 65,869 women from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. All the women studied were between 54 and 86 years of age.
Periodontal disease raises risk for esophageal, breast, lung, gallbladder, and skin cancer
Gum disease was assessed through a questionnaire, and the women were monitored for the appearance of cancer for an average of 8.32 years. By the study’s end, 7,149 women had received a cancer diagnosis. Women with periodontal disease had a 14 percent higher risk of cancer of any type.
Esophageal cancer was the most common cancer type that women with periodontal disease suffered, as they were 3 times more likely to get it than women without gum disease. This is likely because of the proximity of the esophagus in relation to the oral cavity. Periodontitis can easily infect the esophageal mucosa – raising the risk of cancer at this site.
Other cancer types that occurred more often in women with gum disease included breast cancer, lung cancer, melanoma (skin cancer), and gallbladder cancer.
Practice good oral health to avoid gum disease and reduce your cancer risk
One of the top precursors of cancer is chronic infection and inflammation, and these are among the primary symptoms of periodontal disease. Women who smoked and had periodontal disease were at an even higher risk for cancer of all types. The study results were published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
No doubt, this study provides even more evidence that oral health is crucial to overall health. Be sure to brush daily and use a hydro floss, essential oils, and consult (on a regular basis) with a holistic dentist to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Obviously, you should never ignore the signs of gum disease like soreness or bleeding gums.
For best results, be sure to see a well-trained, biological dentist – who understands the implications of poor oral health and, more importantly, how to help you resolve problems – safely and effectively.
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