Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is very common and many of us don’t pay attention to it. But left undiagnosed and untreated, it can cause a number of health problems. In fact, a number of studies have found an association between gum disease and other chronic diseases, including stroke, heart attack and other cancers.
Most recently, a report published Dec. 21 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention shows that gum disease might increase the risk for breast cancer among postmenopausal women, particularly those who smoke.
The report is based on a new study that suggests women with gum disease appeared to have a 14 percent overall increased risk for breast cancer, compared to women without gum disease. That increased risk seemed to jump to more than 30 percent if they also smoked or had smoked in the past 20 years. The study is based on data collected on nearly 74,000 postmenopausal women who took part in the Women’s Health Initiative study.
While the study does not prove a cause-and-effect link between gum disease and breast cancer, the findings will be useful in providing new insight into what causes breast cancer. More study is needed to determine if inflammatory factors such as gum disease contribute to the development of breast cancer. It could be that women with gum disease lead lives that are less healthy overall, such as eating poorly, not exercising and drinking excessively.
If you have concerns about gum disease, please give us a call at Angell’s Dentistry. Dr. Douglas Angell and our dental hygienists will be happy to answer your questions. Angell’s Dentistry is committed to providing each of our patients with a beautiful, healthy smile and unmatched dental care. We invite you to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.