Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Breast Cancer and Gum Disease

Yet another reason to care for your gums and teeth

There are 10 times as many germs in our bodies as there are cells. Not only do our bodies play host to a great variety of germs, germs interacting with our bodies can either help us or harm us. Researchers are continually studying the role germs play in causing chronic inflammation and how germs contribute to systemic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The association between cancer and germs is not new and has been studied for years. Bacteria that live in the mouth have been found in breast cancer tumors and studies have found that almost all women who have been treated for breast cancer have some form of gum disease. 

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease. In its early stages (gingivitis) it causes bleeding, puffy gums, and in the later stages tooth and bone loss (periodontitis.) Almost 50% of adults in our country who are over 30 and over two-thirds of adults over 65 have some degree of periodontitis. Breast cancer risk also increases as women age.
Gum disease &
breast cancer risk.

photo by YM
new study reveals that postmenopausal women who have been diagnosed with periodontal disease by their dentists have a 14% higher risk of developing breast cancer. That number jumps to over 30% in women who have smoked within the past 20 years. Smoking is a huge contributing factor to periodontal disease and is also known to increase breast cancer risk

More research is needed to discover fully how bacteria contributes to diseases like breast cancer but enough evidence already exists to suggest that taking care of one's oral health pays off in better overall health.

This blog is not intended to treat or diagnose any condition. Please see you dentist or doctor if you aren't feeling well and take care of yourself!