Dental and oral hygiene are too often overlooked by the public, regarded as unimportant or solely for cosmetic purposes. This ignorance of the health risks associated with neglect of dental and oral health is potentially more important than most know.
The results of several recent medical studies suggest that advanced gum disease, or periodontitis, may raise the risk of cancer. This serious health hazard is a matter of importance for all. We are going to help you understand the risks and what you can do to lower your chances of developing periodontitis and ultimately reduce the cancer risk associated with it.
What is periodontitis?
Periodontitis is a disease of the gums resulting from bacterial infection. This infection damages the soft tissue and bone that support one’s teeth, wearing away at it over time. This advanced gum disease commonly results in the loss of teeth.
Link between Periodontitis and Cancer
Several recent studies have suggested that periodontitis may be linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer in patients.
A collaborative study between researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Tufts University School of Medicine and Cancer Center, and Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute followed the dental exams of over 7,000 patients with advanced periodontitis, noting the long term health impacts this disease resulted in.
Among these patients, researchers discovered a 24% increase in the risk of developing cancer, the most common types being lung and colorectal. In patients with no teeth as a result of the disease, a 28% increase in cancer risk was observed.
Another study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention suggests that in older women, periodontitis can increase the risk of breast, lung, and esophageal cancers.
However, the reason for this correlation has not yet been proven. Experts theorize that the link lies in other health conditions that can result from advanced gum disease.
Periodontitis and Negative Health Impacts
Further research may be needed in order to discover the link between cancer and periodontitis, but other health risks associated with the disease are well documented. These include:
- heart disease
- rheumatoid arthritis
These diseases and periodontitis itself can be caused by a host of negative lifestyle choices and habits. Ultimately, education on these choices and preventing them can lower the risk of developing the gum disease in the first place.
Lowering the Risk of Periodontitis
There are ways to significantly reduce your chances of developing periodontitis, primarily by making healthier choices.
Ditch the cigarettes
Periodontitis is commonly found in smokers. Smoking has several negative impacts on your health, especially when it comes to oral health.
Eat healthy foods
Having too many sugary foods in your diet can lead to diabetes, which in turn lowers your immune system. A body with a lowered immune system cannot fight off infections as easily as healthy bodies.
Keep up with oral hygiene
Brushing your teeth and flossing are essential to maintain your oral health. Brushing away tartar and bacteria that build up over time prevents your gums from getting infected. This also means that you should keep a regular schedule with your dentist. Make appointments for professional dental cleanings and address any concerns you have with your dentist as well. Even if it seems small, the root of the issue could be more dangerous than you know.
Being mindful of these things will improve your health greatly overall. Your risk of several cancers and chronic conditions such as diabetes are reduced when you make healthy lifestyle choices.
Dental Care You Can Rely On
Many people are reluctant to entrust their oral health to dentists for several reasons. The expense of dental care and the sensitive nature of the mouth when it comes to pain give several people pause, especially when you consider how dental work is portrayed in the media as painful and risky.
The truth is that it is far more risky and painful to neglect oral care. It is just as essential as general medical care, and many are ignorant of the consequences resulting from that neglect.
However, dental care does not have to be painful or scary! When you trust the professionals at Dental Group of Simi Valley, you gain improved health and a smile that can last a lifetime. We are conveniently located in Simi Valley, CA to serve the surrounding communities. To make an appointment, visit us at our office or call at (805) 522-6020.