Our dental health can affect our overall wellness more than we think. This leads many to wonder if gum disease can cause cancer. Whatever the answer is, gum disease requires proper treatment just the same. This is also true for any dental problems you may have.
Can Gum Disease Cause Cancer
The talk about the connection between gum disease and cancer isn’t surprising. After all, poor dental care is highly associated with an increased risk for heart disease.
Initial studies seem to paint a specific trend. For example, a study published by the American Association for Cancer Research showed that 66,000 participants have a history of gum disease. The same respondents also have cancer incidence ranging from breast, lung, gallbladder, and other cancers.
Moreover, a 2017 Finnish study stated that the bacteria responsible for periodontal disease could be a source of pancreatic cancer.
While these studies show a correlation between cancer and gum disease, the topic still begs for more studies. Today, no solid proof showed that gum disease could lead to cancer.
Note that aside from dental health, other factors are at play in cancer risk. For example, smoking, alcohol intake, diet, genetics, and lifestyle will impact your susceptibility.
Nevertheless, you should take gum disease seriously. The jury is still out whether it can cause cancer, but it will surely compromise your dental health. In the end, the key to gum disease is prevention.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Gum disease can be easily prevented through proper oral care practices. Here are some of the simple steps you can take:
- Brush your teeth daily. Brushing your teeth at least twice per day will remove stuck food and bad bacteria in your mouth. This is an important part of healthy dental care to fight gum disease.
- Rinse with mouthwash. When used in conjunction with brushing, mouthwashes can help clean your mouth further. You should only use mouthwash products your dentist recommends. Avoid mouthwash products with alcohol as this can sting and irritate your gums.
- Floss daily. No matter how reluctant flosser you are, you need to floss to prevent gum disease. This is because food bits can get stuck between teeth, which can only be removed through proper flossing.
- See your dentist regularly. It’s advisable to visit your dentist at least twice a year for an examination. This way, your dentist can diagnose gum disease even before it becomes a big problem.
- Cut back on sweets. Sugary food and drinks will increase your risk of developing various dental problems. This is because bacteria thrive on the excess sugar in your saliva. Aside from preventing gum problems, reducing sugar intake is also good for your overall health.
Gum disease is a preventable condition. While initial studies have found a correlation between this disease and cancer, it still requires further tests. Still, you should observe healthy dental care practices to prevent the complications and pain that gum disease could bring. You should also include your dentist in the process to treat dental problems as they arise.