Higher Cancer Risk For Those With Gum Disease

Gum disease, such as periodontis or gingivitis, is associated with increased concentrations of inflammatory markers in the blood.

To explore the potential association between gum disease and cancer, Dr. Dominique Michaud, Imperial College London, UK, and colleagues began a study of male health professionals aged 40-75 years in 1986. Questionnaires were sent to the living participants every two years, and dietary questionnaires were sent every four years.

The data collected through these surveys included: baseline gum disease, bone loss, the number of natural teeth, tooth loss, smoking history, food intake, and any cancer diagnoses. The data were examined for the overall cancer risk and compared to individual cancers, and more than 100 cases were documented.

Patients with a history of gum disease, in comparison with those without a history of gum disease, had an increased risk of cancer in certain specific sites as well, including: 36% increased in the lung, 49% increased in the kidney, 54% increased in the pancreas, and 30% increased in hematological cancers.

Gum disease was associated with a small, but significant, increase in overall cancer risk, which persisted in never-smokers. The associations recorded for lung cancer are probably because of residual confounding by smoking. The increased risks noted for haematological, kidney, and pancreatic cancers need confirmation, but suggest that gum disease might be a marker of a susceptible immune system or might directly affect cancer risk.

Source: Medical News Today