Putting the Gum Disease-Cancer Link into Perspective

chronic periodontitisIf you smoke, you’re pretty much guaranteed gum disease. And, of course, your risk of a whole host of chronic, systemic illnesses soars.

But just because you’re a nonsmoker, your gums don’t necessarily get a free pass. Despite smoking rates dropping for decades now, periodontal disease remains a problem for as much as 75% of the adult population.

We have poor diet, chronic stress, insufficient sleep, and other new norms of modern lifestyles to thank for that.

And it’s far more than just a dental problem. For decades now, science has sussed out its relationship with many other health problems marked by inflammation – for instance, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer.

Earlier this year, a study in Annals of Oncology offered some numbers that put the perio-cancer relationship into perspective. Data from nearly 20,000 men who had never smoked was gathered across 26 years total. Analysis showed “a 2.5-fold increase in smoking-related cancers among never smokers.” Though gum disease wasn’t linked with the three most common cancers among participants,

a 33% increase in risk was observed for smoking-related cancers (lung, bladder, oropharnygeal, esophageal, kidney, stomach and liver cancers…).

And for those with advanced periodontitis? There was a 45% increase in the risk of developing any kind of cancer.

Need another reason to work harder on keeping gum disease in check?

Image by Parveen Chopra, via Flickr

Published by The Verigin Dental Health Team

A humanistic, holistic dental practice in Northern California, providing integrative, biological, mercury-free dentistry

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