Every year we learn more about how the health of our gums and teeth can have profound effects on our whole body health. Studies indicating the impact poor oral health can have on diabetes to research showing that problems with our jaw muscles can impact our posture, the connection keeps growing. A 22-year study followed 7,466 subjects collecting data on cancer risks and gum disease. The results provided an unsettling view of the role of periodontitis in the growth of cancer. One thing became abundantly clear.
There is evidence to support a concerning link between periodontal disease and a variety of cancers.
Severity Of Gum Disease Matters In Increasing Risk
Gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, isn’t the condition that puts you at the most risk of developing cancer. This form of infection is relatively non-dangerous and can be easily addressed with proper oral health care, including scheduled visits to your dentist for a cleaning. The real culprit in rising cancer risks appears to be periodontal disease. Those suffering from this condition have been shown to have increased risks of:
- Lung cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
Women who presented with severe periodontitis also demonstrated increased risks of breast cancer. Discoveries like these make it clear that taking steps to maintain good oral health is an important part of preventing a whole host of concerns.
Research has shown that gum disease may result increase the risk of heart disease and other health concerns as well.
Taking Steps To Lower Your Risk
The only way to address the increased risk that is present in patients with periodontal disease is to address the root concern. In addition to a thorough root planing and scaling procedure to eliminate the presence of bacteria and remove the infection, a routine of regular dental health care must be maintained. This includes regular brushing twice a day, flossing, and mouthwash. By practicing these simple dental hygiene practices, you can make significant strides in reducing your risk of periodontal disease and its associated health risks.
Studies like those mentioned above play an important role in our growing understanding of the link between oral health and our whole body health. For years we’ve considered these two topics distinctly separate, something dentists, medical professionals, and patients can no longer afford to do. More than just protecting your smile, regular visits to your dentist can protect your family from a growing list of health concerns.
Start taking steps to protect your lifelong health today by scheduling an appointment with your dental care provider. During your visit, be sure to listen closely to the advice that they give regarding your oral health and what steps you can take to improve it. You should also take the time to update them on your present health condition by making sure your medical records are updated in their office. A little diligence and good communication can go a long way in protecting your health.