Periodontal disease associated with a higher risk of breast cancer

It is a well-known fact that oral hygiene relates directly to one’s overall health. Of the bacteria that thrives in the mouth, certain strains that cause periodontal disease have also been linked with pneumonia, prostate cancer, stroke and diabetes as well as breast cancer.

In a study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, a survey of 3,273 subjects found that women with chronic periodontal disease – which was indicated by missing molars – had a higher incidence of breast cancer.

By the time individuals with advanced periodontal disease have their teeth fall out, their body’s blood supply is infested with bacteria. According to the Karolinska Institute, which conducted the study, this bacterial infection can prompt the development of a co-infection of the Epstein-Barr virus and the cytomegalovirus (CMV). These viruses work together to suppress the body’s immune responses, which may in turn lead to incidences of breast cancer.

Periodontal treatments and screenings can help delay and halt the progression of advanced gum diseases. The American Dental Association (ADA) notes that regular dental checkups can help one assess if a visit to a periodontist is needed.

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