Make Dental Check-ups Part Of Overall Health Screenings

posted: January 15, 2018

For people who have health insurance, the first of the year resets a new year of benefits. In addition to annual physicals, many plans cover annual or periodic screenings, such as skin cancer exams or pap smears.

As you fill your calendar with these appointments, you may want to read up on some recent research that shows how your oral health relates to a number of serious health problems, including some cancers.

Research has shown that periodontitis (advanced stage of periodontal disease) causes the release of inflammatory components, enzymes and growth factors that have been associated with cancer development.

One particular study of over 48,000 American males between the ages of 40 and 75 showed that those who had a history of periodontal disease had a 14% higher risk of cancer than those without the disease. This was after taking into account risk factors such as smoking and diet.

For example, findings of one study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention revealed that post-menopausal women with a history of periodontal disease had a 30% or higher risk of some cancers.

The study showed that a history of periodontal (gum) disease increased the risk of pancreatic cancer by 54 percent, lung cancer by 36 percent, a 49 percent higher risk of kidney cancer, and a 30 percent higher risk of blood cancers (including leukemia and lymphoma).

In the study, even non-smokers with gum disease had a 35 percent higher risk of blood cancers as well as a 21 percent increased risk for cancer overall. (See Women’s Health Initiative: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/science/womens-health-initiative-whi)

Another study conducted in China revealed that people who have gum disease have a higher risk of developing lung cancer. The study included over 321,000 adults, also citing that findings showed that this risk is even greater for people who drink, smoke, or have diabetes. The research also found that women with gum disease were more likely to develop lung cancer than men with periodontal disease.

The correlation seems to originate with how certain oral bacteria are involved in the development of cancerous cells in the lungs. Another study showed that the successful treatment of periodontal disease could significantly lower the risk of lung cancer. (http://www.dentistrytoday.com/news/industrynews/item/1056-periodontal-disease-increases-lung-cancer-risks?highlight=WyJjYW5jZXIiLCJjYW5jZXInIiwiY2FuY2VyJ3MiLCJ3b21lbiIsIndvbWVuJ3MiLCJjYW5jZXIgd29tZW4iXQ==)

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the nation’s leading cause of cancer death in men and women, outnumbering deaths due to colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

An article in Oncology Nurse Advisor (http://www.oncologynurseadvisor.com/headlines/periodontal-disease-prostate-cancer-inflammation-lower-risk/article/412935/) shared the results of a study on men with high PSA levels who also had periodontitis (advanced gum disease). After treatment for their gum disease, nearly all showed significant improvement of their PSA levels.

For decades, research has continuously revealed links between the bacteria of periodontal disease and serious health problems. By entering the bloodstream through weakened tissues in the mouth, the infectious bacteria of gum disease can trigger problems elsewhere in the body by activating systemic inflammation associated with a number of harmful reactions.

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease, capable of destroying teeth, gums and the bone structures that support tooth roots. Gum disease will not go away without treatment with early treatment, being the leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Know the symptoms associated with gum disease, including swollen and tender gums that bleed when brushing, receded gums that expose sensitive tooth roots, persistent bad breath, gums that turn red in color, pus pockets that form on gums and teeth that loosen.

Having symptoms of gum disease? Call 843-871-6351 for a free consultation. Here, you’ll find patients are treated respectfully and with a gentle touch for all procedures. We have a reputation for providing skilled, ethical care, making appropriate treatment recommendations based upon the unique needs of each patient.

Make your oral health a priority this year and every year. Your smile and you overall health depend on it!