It Increases Risk of Lung Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, WBC Cancer
Research studies have already revealed that periodontal disease is connected with many various diseases. As the studies continue, researchers are now adding several types of cancer to the list, and they affect both men and women.
Increased Risk in Women
A recent study conducted by the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo looked at more than 65,500 women who were between the ages of 54 to 86 years old. It was the first study of this type that focused on post-menopausal women. The study collected data (1999 to 2003) from women in this category and then noted outcomes for 13 years – until 2013.
The types of cancer it has been connected to in women include melanoma, breast cancer, lung cancer, and gallbladder cancer. Smoking raises the risk of lung cancer even more than periodontal disease.
Among these women, it was discovered that the highest risk of cancer was for esophageal cancer. The risk was three times higher if the women also had periodontal disease. The overall risk of developing any type of cancer was 14 percent higher.
Increased Risk in Men
Women are not alone when it comes to a higher risk level for cancer because of periodontal disease. Another study involved 48,000 men in America. All of the men in the study were 40 to 75 years old. In general, men who had periodontitis also had a 14 percent increased risk of getting any type of cancer.
The risks were even higher than for women in other types of cancer. Men with periodontal disease had a 54 percent higher risk of getting pancreatic cancer, a 36 percent higher risk of getting lung cancer, and a 49 percent higher risk of getting kidney cancer. They also had a 35 percent higher risk of getting a blood cancer.
About Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is the more severe form of gum disease. Gum disease starts out as gingivitis and is often unnoticed by most people. It usually starts because of poor oral health. The bacterium that causes it has infected the gums and is irritating them. Its symptoms are inflamed gums, bleeding gums when you brush or floss, and bad breath. At this early stage, you can usually eliminate gingivitis just by brushing twice a day and flossing.
If poor oral health continues, gingivitis will progress until it becomes periodontitis. The CDC reveals that about half of adults over 30 in the United States have periodontitis. It is the main reason why adults are losing their teeth today.
Periodontitis is the result of the immune system in your gums attacking the bacteria and inflammation, and then it becomes an autoimmune disease. It starts attacking the gums, ligaments that support your teeth, and the jawbone. Eventually, the teeth will become loose and may even fall out.
Once the bacteria causing gum disease get into the gums, it then has access to your bloodstream. From there, the inflammation can cause many problems, including cardiovascular, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, and many more serious health issues.
Symptoms of Periodontitis
Periodontitis often starts out with gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth. The inflammation is usually more pronounced than with gingivitis, and it may be more widespread. Pain is usually not included in the symptoms until it gets to the more advanced stages. Pus may be seen at the gumline and one or more teeth may become loose. You will also likely see more spaces developing between your teeth.
The Connection with Cancer
The exact reason why periodontal disease seems to trigger cancer (or other diseases) is not known. Research is continuing to focus on the cause.
When gingivitis becomes periodontitis, it is too late to remedy the problem yourself. The plaque which was rather easily removed by a toothbrush and floss has now hardened and become tartar. Tartar is hard and cannot be removed by this method. The Periodontist will need to do other periodontal treatments like scaling and root planing procedure, which removes the bacteria out of the pockets that have formed on the gums. Medications may also be placed into the pockets to further destroy the harmful bacteria.
If more serious periodontitis has developed in which your teeth have become loose or even lost, called advanced periodontitis, surgical options may be necessary. This may involve gum and bone grafts, and teeth may need to be restored with dental implants.
When to See the Dentist
Damage from periodontitis is ongoing. This means that once you detect the symptoms, you need to see a periodontist for treatment. The longer you wait, the more damage there will be – and the greater your risk becomes for cancer.
If you want to lower your risk of cancer and gum disease or get gum disease treatment, Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS MBA, a Board Certified Periodontist can help you. He can also provide periodontal disease treatment for those who already have advanced gum disease. His offices are located in the Carrollton, Cedar hill, Mockingbird/SMU and Grapevine, TX areas. For a consultation or dental treatment for better dental health, you can contact his office ToothHQ Dental Clinic today at 214-731-0123. ToothHQ accepts all major dental insurances