Cancer and Oral Health

Kimberly Walker 10/04/2016


Dental Clinic

Is there a link?

Discover what scientific studies and research say about the relationship between periodontitis and cancer as you read along this post.

Overview on Oral Disease

In a survey by the National Health and Nutrition, the number of adults in the United States suffering from periodontitis continue to increase. In fact, 64.7 million adults in the country have periodontitis, and there were early symptoms of systemic disorders that were present in the oral cavity several months before these diseases were detected.

Among the conditions that were believed to have a link to oral disease include pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disorder, diabetes and low birth weight-related complications in pregnant women. In addition, there have been discoveries with regard to a link between cancer and periodontal disease due to chronic inflammation.

It is vitally important that a person maintains good oral hygiene and visit a dentist regularly.  Make a visit to your local dental clinic a regular yearly appointment.

Gastric Cancers

In a case-controlled scientific study in Japan, researchers have discovered that gastric and upper GI cancers are more common among individuals with periodontal disease. For instance, there is an increase in susceptibility to gastric cancer in adults who have undergone more than 10 teeth loss. In other studies, however, the outcome of research was different since there proved to be no association between oral disease and stomach cancers after verifying with X-rays of bone or tooth loss.

Lung Cancer

There were some researchers who claim the link between tooth loss and lung cancer among patients. In certain studies, there appears to be a higher risk in patients suffering from oral disease to eventually develop lung cancer. However, further studies must be undertaken to clearly define if tooth loss is indeed the major cause of this type of cancer when combined with habitual cigarette smoking.

Oral Cancer

Although oral cancer is more common among individuals who were alcoholics or cigarette smokers, there is a possibility that this disease can affect people who have lost their teeth without getting any replacement. In several studies, a high risk of oral cancer has been associated with tooth loss and periodontal disease.

Oral tumors, as well as lesions that are precancerous in nature, have been discovered in patients who suffer from oral problems. Furthermore, tooth loss was also observed to be a risk factor for oral cancer due to irritation and trauma of oral mucosa, which triggered carcinogenesis.

Esophageal Cancer

Several studies conducted by health researchers have discovered the relationship between loss of teeth and esophageal cancer. In fact, two studies have presented the increased risk of cancer of the esophagus among people who are missing 6 to as much as 15 teeth.

Yet, there are still some questions regarding this study since missing teeth may not always be due to periodontal disease. Other reasons cause loss of teeth, and it is not only due to oral problems. Thus, there are some uncertainties with these studies that point towards esophageal cancer and oral disease. It is also worth noting that one study, so far, has given a strong link between these two conditions.

Pancreatic Cancer

Tens and thousands of individuals in the United States die each year because of pancreatic cancer. In fact, it is considered as the fourth primary cause of death due to cancer in the country. This condition is also difficult to treat, and there are some uncertainties on the actual cause of this disease. However, the widely accepted risk factor of this type of cancer is cigarette smoking. It is also linked with diabetes, insulin resistance and obesity.

Surprisingly, even periodontal disease has been considered as one of the potential causes of pancreatic cancer, as discovered by several researchers. For instance, a group of researchers have gathered studies in the high risk for cancer of the pancreas among people with periodontal disease. The elevated percentage of non-smokers with oral disease who also suffer from pancreatic cancer is one established evidence of the link between these two medical conditions.

Bottom Line

There are several studies that prove how oral disease can be a potential cause of cancer among individuals. However, it is important to note that there are more factors leading to cancer such as smoking cigarettes, excessive consumption of alcohol, poor diet, stress and unhealthy lifestyle.

Nevertheless, with proper oral hygiene, aside from avoiding factors that trigger cancer and various medical conditions, you can achieve excellent health and well-being.  Check out for a dentist in your area.

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