As any Nashville dentist will tell you, “Only floss the teeth you want to keep.” Well, it turns out that flossing can do much more than help you keep your teeth – it might actually lower your risk for cancer!
There have been many studies done over the last 20 years that have shown a link between the gums and the rest of the body, including the heart. More recently, studies have also shown that gum disease increases the risk of developing cancer. It’s never been more clear that gum disease must be taken seriously! Keep reading to learn more about what gum disease is, common sign and symptoms, and more about its link to cancer. You’ll also find out the best way to prevent or treat this condition!
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by inflammation in the mouth that attacks the gum tissue and underlying bone. These tissues support the teeth and keep them in place, so in advanced cases, the teeth can be become loose and fall out.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of gum disease:
- Bleeding, red or tender gums – In the first stage, called gingivitis, the gums may bleed after brushing or flossing, or could feel tender or swollen.
- Persistent bad breath – When the “pockets” around the teeth become deeper, they collect bacteria and tartar that’s difficult or impossible to remove. These bacteria cause further inflammation and contribute to bad breath.
- Loose teeth – If a significant amount of bone around the teeth has been lost, the teeth may feel loose or start to move while chewing.
If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule a checkup with a family dentist in Nashville for an evaluation.
Can Gum Disease Increase Your Risk of Cancer and Other Health Problems?
Researchers have found a lot of evidence in the last two decades that gum disease is linked to a host of other health problems. The connection to cancer was discovered more recently.
In fact, an online article in Science Daily reviews a recent 2018 study in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute. It confirms what several other studies have shown and found that patients with severe gum disease had a 24% increase in risk of developing cancer. Specifically, the risk for lung cancer and colon cancer were the highest.
Unfortunately, the potential effects of gum disease don’t end there. There is well-established research showing a link with these conditions as well:
- Heart disease
- Pregnancy Complications
How Can You Prevent or Treat Gum Disease?
By keeping your gums happy and healthy, you can not only prevent gum disease but ultimately keep your entire body healthier as well.
Seeing a dentist in Nashville regularly is the best way to stay on top of your gum health. Not only will you be screened for gum disease annually, but you’ll get the benefits of a professional cleaning as well. And it goes without saying that practicing good hygiene habits at home is crucial to preventing or managing gum disease.
The risks that go along with gum disease are downright scary. But with these guidelines, you can reduce these risks and enjoy good health for life!
About the Author
At Green Hills Dental Center, Dr. James Kirby understands that oral health impacts more than just the teeth and gums – it impacts the entire body. He always closely monitors his patients for gum disease and offers outstanding treatments for every stage of the condition. If you have any questions, he can be contacted via his website or at (615) 823-8247.