Gum Disease Linked to Breast Cancer
One in eight US women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. But research suggests that women can help mitigate their risk through good oral hygiene.
While the statistics vary from one study to another, researchers generally agree that there is a correlation between gum disease and breast cancer. A primary reason is thought to be inflammation—the same reason gum disease has been linked to many chronic conditions, including heart disease. Infected gum tissue becomes a gateway for bacteria and viruses to enter the bloodstream, compromising overall immunity and potentially contributing to abnormal cell changes.
Dr. Nigel Carter, CEO of the independent, not-for-profit Oral Health Foundation, commented on 2017 research which found that women with gum disease were two to three times more likely to develop breast cancer:
“Interestingly, this research shows that there is evidence to support the theory that gum disease can have a much larger impact on the health of our whole body. It suggests that severe gum disease is associated with instances of breast cancer and this may be through spread of infection and inflammation starting in the mouth. It’s important to recognize, though, that gum disease has not been proven to cause breast cancer or any other form of the disease, and it remains to be seen whether it is just an association.”
Information sourced by Jonathan Richter, DDS, FAGD, owner of Cariodontal, located at 310 E. Shore Rd., Ste. 101, Great Neck, NY (516-282-0310 / Cariodontal.com), and Manhattan Oasis Dentistry, 525 West End Ave., Ste. 1G, New York, NY (212-874-2880 / ManhattanOasisDentistry.com).