Is there a connection between gum disease and breast cancer? Let’s find out!

New studies have revealed that older women diagnosed with gum disease are more likely to develop breast cancer, particularly those who smoke. Bacteria from the mouth may enter the circulatory system through the gums which may affect the breast tissue.

Studies have also identified links between gum disease and some other conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes or dementia. Past research has found links between gum disease and oral, esophageal, head and neck , pancreatic, and lung cancer.

Gum disease is when the gums become swollen, sore or infected. If you are diagnosed with gum disease, your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth or you may have bad breath. Gum disease is often caused by poor oral hygiene. This first stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. If gingivitis is left untreated, it turns into periodontitis. This means that the tissues supporting the teeth become weakened and the teeth eventually fall out or have to be removed. Gum disease is caused by a build-up plaque on the teeth, plaque which contains bacteria. It can be prevented by brushing your teeth twice a day and by flossing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gum disease affects over 70 percent of people aged 65 and above in the United States. Almost 40 percent of women in the US are diagnosed with periodontitis.

We can’t affirm that gum disease is a cause for breast cancer because there is no enough evidence.

A study published in December 2015 “Periodontal Disease and Breast Cancer: Prospective Cohort Study of Postmenopausal Women”, in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention has found that postmenopausal women with gum disease were more likely to develop breast cancer that postmenopausal women who didn’t have gum disease. If the women used to smoke, the risk of breast cancer was even higher.

The study monitored 73737 women , 26% of them diagnosed with gum disease, but no one diagnosed with breast cancer. After about 6.5 years, 2124 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. Overall, the risk of breast cancer was 14% higher in women who had gum disease compared to women who didn’t have gum disease.

Gum disease can be prevented by regular brushing and flossing. Do not forget about your regular check ups at your dentist. Symptoms for gum disease may include: red or swollen gums, bleeding gums, loose teeth, bad taste in the mouth, gums that  have been pulled away from your teeth.

To conclude, poor oral health is linked to our general health. In order to be healthy, do not forget to take care of your teeth and gums. Have a balanced diet and bear in mind that a healthy mouth means a healthy body. In case you believe you may suffer from gum disease, call Dr. Arhiri today to make an appointment.