Gum Disease and Cancer
There are currently studies to see if there is an increased risk to developing some forms of cancer for patients with gum disease. At the time, this information is still being studied, but we promote taking control of the areas of your health that you have control, including having healthier teeth and gums. What we do know is that gum disease is an active bacterial infection, and that this infection can enter the bloodstream causing inflammation in other areas of your body. At Pine Belt Periodontics, PLLC, we can help reduce the decay causing bacteria in your mouth and provide you the tips and guidance you need to have a healthier mouth.
Our bodies daily battle cancerous cells, we can help this battle by controlling the areas of our health that we have control over. This includes the preventative care of our teeth and gums. Our mouths are constantly exposed to lots of bacteria, we can reduce the harmful bacteria through daily brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings and exams.
How did I get gum disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue. Our mouths are constantly exposed to both good bacteria and bad bacteria. It’s in the food we consume, the air we breathe, we even gain bacteria while engaging in conversation with those around us.
Our saliva is a natural deterrent in removing bacteria. It collects the bacteria and either washes it away through swallowing, or creates a biofilm known as plaque. It gathers and collects along the rims of our teeth, in crevices and between our teeth. We can easily brush and floss plaque away while it’s still soft, which is why it’s recommended to brush twice a day. If we don’t brush it away, the plaque will then dry and harden. Hardened plaque is known as tartar or calculus. Tartar is an ideal material for bacteria to feed and thrive. This is not good news for your gums.
As the bacteria feeds, it emits an acid. This acid eats away at your teeth, gums and eventually, your supporting bone. The infection that comes from the bacteria feeding will continue to rage if not removed. The material that sits along your gum line is even able to slip between your teeth and gums spreading the infection. Your gum tissue can’t fight the infection, the only recourse is to move away from it, while also moving away from supporting your teeth.
What does oral bacteria have to do with cancer?
Information on the correlation between oral bacteria and cancer is still coming in. Some studies suggest that gum disease could promote the formation of endogenous nitrosamines. They are known to cause gastric cancer through nitrate-reducing bacteria. Further studies seem to link oral microbiomes, such as that found in gum disease, identify specific oral bacteria responsible for this relationship. It is best to control negative bacteria in our bodies when we have the ability. Reducing gum disease is better for your oral health, and we believe that it can be better for your overall health too.