Link between gum disease and cancer

Gum disease, or gingivitis, is an inflammatory illness that can lead to more than tooth loss. Researchers have established a connection between gum disease and an increased risk of cardiovascular disorders, as well as uncontrolled blood sugar. In a more disturbing development, a recent study has revealed a connection between advanced gum disease (periodontitis) and head and neck cancers caused by the human papillomavirus.

The Virus That Causes Cancer

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a communicable virus associated with many cases of reproductive system cancers, and is becoming recognized as a growing cause of head and neck cancers. More than 11,000 men, and more than 20,000 women, are diagnosed with HPV-related cancer in the US every year. Studies have shown that HPV was connected to 60% of new cases of throat cancer in the last year.

Many of these lesions can appear with a mixture of whites and reds with variagated borders to the lesions. They might also appear as a darkness on the cheeks, palate, or as black gums.

The Connection Between Cancer and Gum Disease

Researchers have discovered that patients with HPV-positive tumors in the head and neck area often present with significant bone loss due to gum disease, in comparison to patients with HPV-negative tumors. This indicates a relationship between severe gum disease and the development of HPV-related cancers of the head and neck. While causation has not been established for certain, patients of Lake Forest Dental Arts should keep in mind the increased risk and take steps to eliminate gum disease today.

How to Reduce Your Risk

While it may be difficult to completely reduce your exposure to HPV, gum disease is certainly preventable. You can begin by avoiding foods that can lead to plaque buildup, such as sugary cereals and drinks. Maintaining proper oral hygiene at home, including brushing and flossing, is also an essential step in preventing the gum inflammation that leads to periodontitis. However, the cornerstone to life-long oral health is developing a regular exam and cleaning schedule with your Lake Forest general dentist, Dr. James Fondriest.

Learn more about the link between gum disease and cancer

Regular exams and cleanings will ensure that the plaque and tartar buildup that leads to gum disease and bone loss is not allowed to flourish and lead to other, possibly life-threatening, health conditions. Contact your general dentist Dr. James Fondriest today, at 847-234-0517.

Dr Fondriest is a Nationally recognized and highly sought after cosmetic dentist serving clients from throughout the United States  

Source: Dentistry Today