Gum disease may increase your cancer risk

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In a recent study published in Gut, researchers found people with bad gum health might be at higher risk of developing certain types of cancer.

A history of gum disease appears to increase the risk of stomach cancer by 52% and throat cancer by 43%.

People who’d lost two or more teeth also had an increased risk of cancer—33% for stomach cancer and 42% for throat cancer—compared with people who never lost a tooth.

The finding shows people with periodontal disease and a higher number of teeth lost had a higher risk of developing the two gastrointestinal cancers, even after adjusting for other major risk factors.

The research is at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. One author is Mingyang Song.

In the United States, nearly half of adults aged 30 and older have gum disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the study, the researchers analyzed health data gathered from tens of thousands of health professionals during two long-term studies—including over 98,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study and over 49,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

During 22 to 28 years of follow-up, participants developed 199 cases of throat cancer and 238 cases of stomach cancer.

Overall, people with any history of gum disease had a 59% increased risk of throat cancer compared with people who’d never had periodontal disease, regardless of whether they’d lost teeth or not.

There was some difference when looking at stomach cancer. People with gum disease who lost no teeth had a 50% increased risk of stomach cancer, while those who’d lost one or more teeth had a 68% increased risk.

The team says the mouth, esophagus, and stomach are all connected and they’re important components of the digestive system.

It’s not surprising to see that a marker for the illness of one organ is connected to another illness, such as cancer, further down the gastrointestinal tract.

The inflammation caused by gum disease might be one factor that increases cancer risk.

It’s also possible that bad oral health promotes the growth of bacteria in the mouth and gums that could contribute to cancer.

If you care about cancer, please read studies about walnut may change genes in breast cancer, improve survival and findings of flu shot may help fight cancer.

For more information about cancer and your health, please see recent studies about these gut bacteria may increase colon cancer risk and results showing that turmeric may help develop effective anti-cancer drug.

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