Gum Disease Creates a Predisposition to Cancer

Gum Disease Creates a Predisposition to Cancer

Gum disease, or periodontitis, has been linked to higher risks for many health issues, such as heart disease, respiratory disease and pregnancy complications. Over the last few years, researchers have found increasing evidence that points to a strong relationship between gum disease and cancer, one the biggest killers of this century. Every year, oral cancer alone affects about 300,000 people worldwide.

Recently, doctors at Roswell Park Cancer Institute assessed patients over six years and reported that having periodontal disease increased the chances an individual will develop cancer of mouth, head, neck and tongue, similar to other risk factors like smoking. Many other reports from all over the world point toward links between gum health and oral, gastric and pancreatic cancer. Cancer occurs when certain culprit genes called “oncogenes” are “turned on” due to the interplay of various risk factors.

Major risk factors for cancer include smoking, alcohol, genetics, local irritation and viral infection. Gum problem tends to compound these effects by causing long-standing inflammation, which provides a host of molecular signals that can activate the cancer producing genes. Although periodontal disease increases cancer risk, as your Frisco dentist will tell you, they are largely preventable by proper oral care.

Gum disease is one of the most widespread diseases, and about 15 to 30 percent of people have moderate to severe periodontitis. Poor oral hygiene is the major cause for periodontal problems, with some people being more susceptible to periodontal disease than others. These people develop gum inflammation, which extends deep into the gums and the supporting jawbone. In the early stages, gum diseases or periodontitis is often “silent,” not causing any discomfort, and it is often your Frisco dentist who can point it out to you.

Unfortunately, this is the major reason why many people often tend to neglect an existing gum infection unless it progresses to an advanced stage where your dentist may not be able to salvage the affected teeth. While prevention of periodontal problems requires good oral hygiene and regular oral prophylaxis, severe periodontal disease may need more advanced treatment procedures like periodontal surgery, which is performed by a periodontist. Advances in dentistry have led to lasers, minimally invasive periodontal surgeries, locally delivered antibiotics and many modern aids, which make periodontal therapy comfortable and effective, and, at the same time, improve your general well being.