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Discovering The Disturbing Link Between Oral Health and Cancer

The study of periodontal disease has been an ongoing project for the dental industry. In addition to studying how to prevent it, these researchers also search for connections. Many of the connections the researchers find are surprising and even worrying. Gum disease has been known to be able to be life-threatening. Pus from abscesses can enter the bloodstream and cause life-threatening consequences. The same bacteria that cause gum periodontitis has been found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Recently research has revealed that there’s a link between gingivitis and cancer.

How Oral Health Concerns Can Increase Risk For Cancer

Research done by the Oral Cancer Foundation has revealed that 54,000 new cases appear each year. Of these cases nearly 20% will die, a rate of about one person each hour, every day. These significant rates of death are often the result of a late diagnosis. This lateness can be the result of a lack of regular dental visits, or mistaken symptoms. Oral cancer appears in multiple forms, with the most prevalent listed below:

  • Gum Cancer
  • Lip Cancer
  • Tongue Cancer
  • Mouth Cancer

So how are these conditions tied to your oral health? This mechanism isn’t well understood, and research is ongoing. What is known is that half of all adults over 30 experience complications with gum disease. Among these patients those with late-stage periodontal disease have a nearly 20% higher risk of oral cancer. Those without any teeth at all had a risk nearly 30% as high. In addition, men with gum disease were shown to have reduced instances of inflammation in the prostate. This reduction, in turn, reduced their risk of prostate cancer.

An important point to recall in all this is that gum disease has not been shown to cause cancer. Rather, having gum disease increases your risk of developing it. The best method of reducing your risks is a solid oral hygiene routine combined with regular dental visits. If you’re wondering if you’re experiencing periodontal disease, look for the following symptoms:

  • Tender gums
  • Blood on your toothbrush
  • Halitosis or bad breath
  • Teeth that are loose
  • Pain while chewing
  • Gum lines that are receding
  • Teeth that appear longer than usual
  • Issues with bite, such as overbite, crossbite, etc

All of these can indicate that you’re harboring a case of periodontitis or gingivitis. Speaking to your dentist is the best way to get help overcoming these afflictions.

Next Steps In Your Oral Health Care Plan

It’s essential to take proper care of your teeth and gums. In addition to keeping your smile looking fantastic, it’s clear it could save your life. Checking your mouth for oral cancer is another reason your dentist sees you regularly. If you haven’t been to yours in a while, it’s time to schedule another visit. As studies continue, the importance of regular oral care is increasingly evident. Don’t let your health be threatened by improper oral hygiene and dental care. See your dentist and get an exam. It’s a sure way to ensure a great smile for years to come.

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